Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
A pair of Republican state senators from the Tulsa
area called on Gov. Brad Henry Tuesday to add tobacco tax parity
legislation to the agenda for the Legislature’s special session.
News reports last weekend quoted State Treasurer Scott Meacham
– the architect of Henry’s poorly-designed tobacco tax
program – as saying the governor is “surveying”
members of the legislature to determine whether there is support
for parity legislation.
“It is not time for polling legislators, it is time for action.
The governor’s tobacco tax program has put convenience stores
in the Tulsa area and around our state’s borders at a terrible
price disadvantage with tribal competitors. Unless the Legislature
addresses Gov. Henry’s poorly designed tobacco tax program,
we’re going to see private convenience stores going out of
business resulting in job losses in these areas. It is imperative
that we bring parity to tobacco tax collections in the state of
Oklahoma,” stated Sen. Randy
Henry’s tobacco tax program has resulted in a major shift
of tobacco purchases from Oklahoma convenience stores to Indian
smoke shops. The tribal smoke shops can sell cigarettes more cheaply
because of loopholes for the tribes that Henry and Meacham placed
in their tobacco tax plan. Since the state receives less tax revenue
from tribal sales of cigarettes, tobacco tax revenues have been
significantly less than Henry and Meacham promised.
“It is becoming more and more likely that the new tobacco
tax revenues promised by Gov. Henry and Treasurer Meacham won’t
come anywhere near their rosy estimates. Such a huge shortfall means
the governor would likely have to scale back or eliminate many of
the new health care programs he promised to voters last fall,”
stated Sen. Brian
For more information contact:
Senate Communications Office - (405) 521-5774