Is Oklahoma’s deepening budget shortfall forcing Republican state lawmakers to abandon their core goal of tax relief?
A Republican member of the Oklahoma House suggests just that in a confidential memorandum that seeks support for a plan to freeze property taxes for seniors and reduce annual property tax increases for homeowners.
Rep. Dave Dank, R-Oklahoma City, takes issue with fellow Republicans who opposed the plan at a GOP caucus retreat in Claremore last month.
The memo says a majority of the caucus voted against placing the plan on a list of GOP legislative goals for 2010. It also criticizes Republican House Speaker Chris Benge for referring to proposals as "tax cuts.”
"Calling them tax cuts is like referring to (Democratic President) Barack Obama as a great leader. It simply misstates the truth,” writes Dank.
Benge, former chairman of the House Appropriations and Budget Committee said rejecting Dank’s plan does not mean Republicans are abandoning tax relief.
But, Benge said, it does mean Republicans, who have controlled the House since 2004 and took control of the Senate last year, see the state revenue drop.
House Democratic Leader Danny Morgan of Prague said lawmakers need to be "very careful.”