Committee Chairman’s Plan Includes New Cigarette Tax, Expanded Casino Games

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The chairman of Oklahoma’s House Appropriations and Budget Committee has a plan to fill a $215 million budget shortfall that includes raising the tax on cigarettes by $1.50 per pack and allowing Indian casinos to offer roulette and dice games.

Rep. Kevin Wallace (R-Oklahoma City) said Tuesday his plan covers the shortfall and creates nearly $300 million in additional revenue annually.

The shortfall was created when the state Supreme Court ruled a $1.50 per pack “fee” on cigarettes was an unconstitutional tax.

Wallace’s plan allows expanded gambling for tribes that give up rebates on vehicle registrations. It would also take money from the constitutional Rainy Day fund and use money left over from the 2017 fiscal year.

Gov. Mary Fallin has said she’ll call a special session to begin Monday, Sept. 25.

 

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Sean Gallagher