On Jan. 16, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt – who never met a publicity ploy that he didn’t embrace – called for a special session of the Oklahoma Legislature to begin on Jan. 29. This emergency, got-to-have-it-now confab would deal with Stitt’s proposed 0.25% cut in the state income tax.

          That’s right. A one-fourth of one percent tax cut proposal is so important that the state must convene its lawmakers – and all of their posses – a week ahead of the Feb. 5 date set for the opening of the legislative session.

          Maybe he’s trying to give Cap City innkeepers a little boost to offset the winter slump.

          Why else call a special session to reduce taxes before the state knows how much money it will have to spend?

          Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat, a Republican in this GOP supermajority state, pointed out the inadvisability of putting the tax cut cart before the revenue horse:

          “It is disappointing the governor would call another special session. I met with the governor and Speaker (Charles) McCall Thursday. The governor laid out his intentions for a special session regarding tax cuts. I outlined to the governor, we will not know how much money the state will have to spend on a tax cut until the Board of Equalization meets to certify budget numbers in mid-February.

          “It is unfortunate the governor has chosen this route. The Senate will adhere to the call of the special session, as we have always done to respect and uphold our constitutional duty. However, I do not know what will be different between the last week in January and the last time he pulled this stunt in October.”

          Last October, Stitt called everyone in for that special session “stunt” and refused to send anyone over to the Senate to explain his proposal. With nothing to work with, the Senate adjourned.

          The premature call for a tax cut session ignores the normal chain of events in budgeting. You would think that our lame duck cluck would have learned that by now. Sen. Treat even gave him a refresher course. Thus, the supposition that our governor might just be a little slow on the uptake.

          (Maybe that explains Stitt’s animus against Oklahoma schools. They remind him of his own shortcomings.)

          Senate Democratic Leader Kay Floyd responded similarly to Sen. Treat, noting again the premature nature of the Stitt Stunt.

          “We’re still analyzing the figures from December’s initial certification by the Board of Equalization and won’t get the final certification numbers until mid-February….

          “To undertake statewide, comprehensive tax reform in five days, without committee work and public vetting and input, would serve no other purpose than to place politics over policy.”

          House Democratic Leader Cyndi Munson also pointed out the premature nature of Stitt’s call, adding:

          “We will have four months beginning February 5 to deliberate fiscal and policy ideas. Our job as legislators is to work through these important issues, as we are called to do every year. 

          “Instead, the Governor is asking us to waste time and taxpayer dollars by throwing ideas at the wall to see what sticks. It is unwise and fiscally irresponsible to ask the Legislature to haphazardly cut revenue.”

          Wasting time and taxpayer dollars. (How bright is that?)

          So, we will have a political publicity stunt – brought to us by our time-line challenged governor and paid for with our tax money.

            (Gary Edmondson is chair of the Stephens County Democratic Party.)

Stitt slow to learn budgeting process

Post navigation