For Immediate Release:
August 3, 2005
Morgan: Tobacco Tax Parity Worthy of Consideration
Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Morgan said Wednesday
that he shares the concerns voiced to him by convenience store owners
on the issue of a disparity in the tobacco tax being paid by private
retailers and some tribal smoke shops.
“Allegations continue to surface that some Native American tribes
may not complying with the spirit, and perhaps even the letter, of the
tobacco compacts they have signed with the state,” Morgan said.
Private retailers say that the alleged non-compliance puts their stores
and tribal smoke shops, which are following the spirit and letter of
their compacts, at an unfair competitive disadvantage.
“I am open to considering ideas that would solve the parity issue,
but this is an extremely complex question – made even more so
by the recent Oklahoma Supreme Court decision that broadened the definition
of special laws. If we can find a solution to the issue, I am more than
willing to consider tobacco tax parity legislation in the current special
“Until we have a legislative solution, however, I urge the Governor
and the Attorney General to continue to
seek remedies through enforcement actions – including arbitration,”
Morgan said he met with representatives of the Petroleum Marketers Association
to discuss the parity issue shortly after the regular legislative session
in May and has held other meetings on the issue over the summer months.
The Stillwater Democrat said he is open to meeting with House Speaker
Todd Hiett on the issue of tobacco tax parity, corrections funding or
any other issue – an offer Morgan made to Hiett during a brief
face-to-face meeting in Tulsa Tuesday afternoon.
“Along with our plan to solve the public safety crisis created
by a shortage of correctional officers, Senate Democrats have been working
on the tobacco tax parity issue throughout the early months of the interim.
I’m pleased that it now appears that the Speaker is in agreement
that there’s work to do and I’m hopeful he will be willing
to come to the table in an effort to find sensible solutions for Oklahoma,”
For more information contact:
President Pro Tempore's Office - (405) 521-5605