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Oklahoma budget talks stalled over the weekend

Jim Beckel
The Oklahoman

Attempts in the Oklahoma Legislature to fix the state’s massive budget shortfall fell apart this weekend, reports The Oklahoman.

Both chambers had hoped to reach a last minute deal to avoid a special session. But by the end of Saturday it was clear that Oklahoma lawmakers were not going to find enough common ground to avoid working overtime.

The breakdown in negotiations came over a single point on the taxation rate for oil produced in Oklahoma. Oil and gas producers currently pay a two percent tax for the first three years of operation.

Democrats won’t settle for anything less than five percent. Republicans, including Gov. Mary Fallin, will only go as high as four percent.

By comparison, the rate in Texas is 4.6 percent and the rate in North Dakota is five percent. Alaska has a much higher rate of 35 percent.

To resolve the matter, Fallin is expected to call a special session to run alongside the current session, which ends Friday.