Despite Fallin’s Veto Threat, McCall Raises Possibility of Budget Cuts
House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, told reporters during a press conference Monday afternoon that GOP leaders will suggest budget cuts as a way to make up the $215 million shortfall if there are not enough votes to pass the $1.50-per-pack cigarette tax increase.
McCall said about 75 percent of the 72-member House Republican caucus would support the cigarette tax. He said if Democrats can deliver an equal proportion of their 28-member caucus, there will be enough votes to achieve the needed three-fourths majority.
But whether enough Republicans and Democrats will support the plan remains unclear.
In that case, McCall said House Republicans plan to consider budget cuts instead of returning to the negotiating table with Democrats to find additional revenue.
That could put House Republicans on a collision course with Gov. Mary Fallin, who last week threatened to veto any measure that contained agency cuts. When asked about the governor’s statement that she would veto cuts, McCall only responded by saying, “I did read that, I did read that.”
McCall said the cigarette tax will be heard on the House floor either Wednesday or Thursday. He said the vote is the House GOP’s priority for the first week of the session.