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Oklahoma Legislature overrides some vetoes, plans return

May 27, 2022 GMT

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Legislature spent the final day of the regular session on Friday overriding several of Gov. Kevin Stitt’s vetoes, but opted not to override his veto of several key budget provisions.

Instead, lawmakers plan to return in a special session next month to consider Stitt’s proposals to eliminate the state sales tax on groceries and reduce the individual income tax rate.

The Legislature’s plan to offer one-time cash rebates of $75 for individuals and $150 for married couples and to eliminate the sales tax on motor vehicle purchases, both of which Stitt vetoed, will not become law since the House and Senate did not override those vetoes.

Stitt during a news conference Thursday called the idea for cash rebates a “political gimmick during an election year” and said his tax-cut proposals would offer more meaningful relief.

“Under my inflation relief plan families would start saving money right away for a total of $453 each year,” the Republican governor said in a statement Friday. “I look forward to working with the Legislature on June 13 to eliminate the grocery sales tax and reduce the personal income tax.”

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Some Republicans have been leery of further cutting the state’s individual income tax rate because once it’s reduced, it would require a three-fourth’s vote of the Legislature to restore it during an economic downturn.

Oklahoma Speaker of the House Charles McCall sharply criticized Stitt on Friday and said the Legislature will expand its own special session call to consider other tax relief measures beyond just Stitt’s proposals.

“I’m appalled at the governor’s comments yesterday,” said McCall, R-Atoka. “We work for the people of the state. We don’t work for the governor.”

McCall also said he was disappointed that the governor intended to call lawmakers back for a special session on June 13, just two weeks before the state’s primary election.

Among the vetoes the House and Senate successfully overrode were a bill to require the governor’s cabinet members and appointees to lead agencies to fill out financial disclosures. The House and Senate also overrode his veto of a bill that would direct the Department of Public Safety to recognize traffic convictions from tribal courts.