Fallin calls 2nd session to raise taxes

After eight weeks of special session with no significant accomplishments, Gov. Mary Fallin is calling for a second special session on December 8 to raise hundreds of millions in new taxes.

Conservative Republican lawmakers say the governor won’t get the tax hikes she wants and this is another waste of time. The regular session convenes in about six weeks.

Other lawmakers say this new special session is an effort to turn public opinion against fiscal conservatives and to punish Republicans for not caving into Fallin’s demand for higher taxes.

Fallin did not initially file an executive order, or an official call, for the special session.

House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, said Fallin could have prevented the second special session but she lied about her support of a compromise bill that she vetoed at the end of the first special session.

“We are in this situation because the governor vetoed a compromise bill that would have funded our healthcare programs through the fiscal year without cutting those vital services,” McCall said. “Her veto has put those healthcare programs that Oklahomans rely on in a very precarious position and created uncertainty for healthcare providers and citizens. Had she signed the bill, as she promised the House and Senate she would do, these additional revenue issues could have been addressed during the upcoming regular session.

“Once again, the governor has called us back into special session without a plan in place, which means more taxpayer dollars will be wasted. This additional special session could have been avoided if the governor had kept her word.”

A preliminary estimate of available funds for legislative appropriation will be available that week for the Dec. 20 meeting of the Board of Equalization.

“I am hopeful the estimate will show revenue growth for the 2019 fiscal year,” Fallin said.

Even if revenues grow enough to cover the budget shortfall, Fallin wants at least $800,000,000.00 in new annual taxation. The budget shortfall is only $111 million.

The governor vetoed all but five of the 170 sections contained in the budget compromise because they didn’t raise taxes to the level she wanted.