OFFICE OF SENATOR JAY PAUL GUMM
Atoka, Bryan, Coal, Johnston & Marshall Counties
For Immediate Release:
December 7, 2007
Sen. Jay Paul Gumm
“Freedom from Hunger Act” Filed
to Remove State Grocery Sales Tax
The first step was taken Friday in a journey
that could save Oklahoma families millions as Senator Jay
Paul Gumm filed Senate Bill 1153, the “Freedom from Hunger
The measure would remove the state’s portion of the sales
tax on groceries; if enacted, the bill would save Oklahoma families
4.5 cents on every dollar they spend at the grocery store. Families
spending $500 per month on groceries would save $270 annually on
sales taxes under the bill.
“Working families are feeling the pain of all-time high gas
prices, and could use the relief at the checkout stand when they
buy food for their families,” Gumm said. “Eliminating
this unfair tax will allow Oklahomans to have more money in their
pockets to spend on necessities and to boost their local economies.”
This will be the third year Gumm will try to end collection of the
state’s portion of the sales tax on groceries. He introduced
similar legislation last year, however that bill was never granted
a hearing in the Senate Finance Committee.
Gumm said the bill, which has strong grassroots support from Oklahoma
taxpayers, faced fierce opposition from the organization that lobbies
on behalf of Oklahoma cities and towns, the Oklahoma Municipal League
(OML). The group fears the measure would strip cities’ and
counties’ ability to tax groceries.
Gumm said that is “simply not true,” as his bill would
not affect cities and counties. “The ‘Freedom from Hunger
Act’ clearly allows cities and counties to continue taxing
Oklahomans’ food, just like OML wants.”
He said the state’s participation in the Streamline Sales
Tax Agreement would not allow a city or county option to end the
tax on a jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction basis; the ability to tax
an item must be uniform across a state under the agreement.
In short, Gumm explained, the state can only allow every local government
to collect the tax, or prevent all local governments from collecting
the tax. That component of the agreement protects local officials
from enduring political pressure to end their grocery tax.
“Even though I would like to do away completely with the grocery
tax, I realize OML would not allow that proposal to become law.
Despite OML’s rhetoric to the contrary, their sales tax base
is preserved under the bill.”
The lawmaker cited OML’s long opposition to the “Back-to-School”
sales tax holiday as evidence the group “will pull out all
the stops” to protect their sales tax base. Despite evidence
that such a sales tax holiday would actually increase municipal
revenues, OML stopped that bill cold for years before it finally
passed in 2007.
“Getting rid of the state grocery tax is too important to
risk on political gamesmanship,” Gumm said. “Removing
the state’s portion of the grocery tax will make a real difference
in the lives of Oklahoma families, and it is something to which
I am deeply committed.
“If we aren’t successful this year, it will be back
every year until it becomes law or my time in the Senate is complete.”
For more information contact:
Senator Gumm's Office - (405) 521-5586