Senator Jay Paul Gumm
Senate District 6
Atoka, Bryan, Coal, Johnston and Marshall Counties
For Immediate Release: February 2, 2007
Senator Jay Paul Gumm
Gumm Says Ending Grocery Tax a “Moral
Democratic Senator Authors Legislation to End State Portion of
OKLAHOMA CITY – Calling it a “moral imperative” for
Oklahoma’s working families, a Democratic senator has introduced
legislation to repeal the state sales tax on groceries.
Paul Gumm, D-Durant, is the author of Senate Bill 34, which
would end collection of the state’s portion of the sales
tax on groceries. The state sales tax on groceries is 4.5 cents
on every dollar spent at the check-out stand.
The exemption would not extend to alcoholic beverages or tobacco.
The bill allows municipalities and counties to continue collecting
the grocery sales tax unless each makes the decision to honor
“This is a direct tax cut at the cash register for those Oklahomans who
need it most,” said Gumm. “The people I represent have told me time
and again: ‘When the budget gets better, please end the sales tax on groceries.’ Now
is the time and this bill is a response to that plea from the people.”
As chair of the Senate Finance Committee, Gumm shepherded into
law the two largest tax cuts in Oklahoma history. During those
discussions, he proposed doing away with the grocery sales tax.
The proposal ran into resistance, however, because the focus was
on cutting the income tax.
The resistance was so great last year that a bill to cut the grocery
sales tax was even denied a hearing in the House of Representatives’ Revenue and
Taxation Committee, effectively killing it. Now, Gumm says, it is time for both
parties to focus on cutting the most regressive of taxes – the grocery
“The grocery sales tax is a heavier burden than any other tax on the families
who can least afford it,” Gumm explained. “Lower and middle income
Oklahomans pay a greater share of their income in state and local taxes than
do upper-income Oklahomans.”
A study by the Alliance for Oklahoma’s Future proves the point. It shows
that the bottom three-fifths of taxpayers – most Oklahomans – pay
an effective tax rate of 11 percent for state and local taxes. The wealthiest
Oklahomans, however, pay an effective state and local tax rate of less than 9
Lower and middle income families also spend a greater percentage
of their income on necessities like groceries than do the wealthy.
That creates for most Oklahoma families what Gumm calls a “double-whammy.”
“Removing the sales tax on groceries will certainly make the tax system
more fair for Oklahoma’s working families,” he said. “We can,
and we should, focus on ending a tax that affects more than anyone else those
least able to afford it.”
The lawmaker concluded by noting that most of the money consumers
would save through ending the state’s grocery sales tax would be pumped right back
into the economy. “The working families who would benefit most from this
bill will turn around and spend the savings on other necessities their family
needs,” he said.
“Clearly, removal of the grocery sales tax is a moral imperative for the
people of Oklahoma.”
For more information contact:
Senator Gumm's Office - (405) 521-5586