Benge says many options unrealistic in budget environment

By Patrick B. McGuigan

Published: 29-Apr-2010

Prospects for Senate Joint Resolution 5, a proposal to cap property tax value assessment increases to 3% a year, remain uncertain at this writing. Tuesday, state Senator Jim Reynolds of Oklahoma City asked for help in pressing Speaker of the House Chris Benge to schedule a vote on the measure, which passed the Senate last year. 

In response to a question from CapitolBeatOK, Benge today (Thursday, April 29) gave an indirect reply, saying, “If it were up to me, I would push for an income tax reduction this year, but unfortunately many of these options are not realistic given our current budget environment.”

Senator Reynolds asked for help from voters and citizens to gain a floor vote for Senate Joint Resolution 5, the property tax cap he has pressed in recent years.

In his Capitol press conference, Reynolds, a Republican like Benge, told reporters, “The full Senate approved this measure over a year ago, but we’re still waiting for the House to take action. This issue remains a top concern, not just in my district, but in communities throughout the state.”

Reynolds gained the support of 26 Republicans and three Democrats for his proposal, which as a constitutional amendment would require voter approval to take effect.

Sen. Reynolds said he believes, “The voters deserve the opportunity to decide this issue for themselves.” He called on Benge, a Tulsa Republican, to allow the measure to get a full House vote. If approved on the House floor, the proposal would move onto the November ballot.

Reynolds asserted, “One man stands in the way of this going to the people.”  After saying “I do not question the speaker’s motives,” Reynolds asked voters to phone the House switchboard and ask the Speaker to schedule a vote.