State legislators assail hints of new interpretation of State Question 640’s tax cut measures

OKLAHOMA CITY — Participants in a state Capitol press conference today (Wednesday, Nov. 26) said that only improper judicial construction could yield a state Supreme Court decision undoing all major tax reductions in Oklahoma since 1992.

However, based on questions during recent oral argument before the High Court (in the challenge to income tax reductions enacted under State Question 640), a group of a dozen state legislators told reporters they are preparing for rapid response if the justices agree with maverick attorney Jerry Fent that S.Q. 640’s provisions requiring popular approval of all tax hikes must apply with equal force to all tax reduction measures.

In a letter to state Rep. Bobby Cleveland, R-District 20, circulated today at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City, attorney Stanley M. Ward, author of state question 640 (a ballot measure enacted in the 1990s) wrote, “I know well what the intent was, namely to prevent tax increases without a legislative super majority or a vote of the people. It absolutely was not designed to be applicable to tax decreases. [Oklahoma City attorney] Jerry Fent is a great lawyer and serves the public’s interest well. However, on this issue, his arguments are misguided but creative.”

Supporters of income tax reductions held a Capitol press conference later to raise concerns about a possible state High Court decision on tax cuts stretching over the past two decades.

Participants include state Reps. Leslie Osborn, Jon Echols, Tom Newell, Mike Sanders and others; state Sens. Kyle Loveless, David Holt and others.

Also attending and speaking at the event was Jonathan Small, CPA, a vice president at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs. Dave Bond of OCPA Impact told CapitolBeatOK he would provide “specifics as to how much an OK Supreme Court ruling applying State Question 640 to tax reductions would cost OK families, single mothers, wounded military veterans, agriculturalists, and others.”
Stay with CapitolBeatOK for further details.