Wright: Make it easier to hike taxes

House Speaker Pro Tempore Harold Wright, R-Weatherford, has authored a bill to make it easier to raise state taxes.

He wants the public to vote on an amendment to Section 33 of Article V of the Constitution of the State of Oklahoma. House Joint Resolution 1032 looks to amend the state’s constitutional requirement for the number of votes needed in the Legislature to pass revenue raising legislation.

He wants the threshold to drop from 75 percent to 60 percent for passage of tax increases. Currently, due to the passage of State Question 640, which was passed in March of 1992, tax increases require a three-fourths vote of both the Oklahoma House of Representatives and Senate.

Wright’s legislation would liberalize the requirement to pass revenue-raising measures to three-fifths of the Legislature.

Wright wants to grow the budget of several state agencies.

“This has been the most difficult legislative year since I was elected,” Wright said. “Partly because of two special extraordinary sessions but also because it has been impossible to pass necessary revenue measures to provide for adequate core services in Oklahoma: roads and bridges, public safety, education, public health and corrections.

“This is why I am proposing legislation that would put to a vote a change in the revenue-raising requirement in the constitution that would lower the requirement to 60 percent, the same as a school bond issue. Many agree that this would be a fair compromise and still make it difficult to raise revenue. There will be opposition to this measure, but I hope you will support the change in order to make your state government more effective.”

Wright represents House District 57, which is comprised of Beckham, Blaine, Caddo, Canadian and Custer Counties.