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Oklahoma House Democrats, Republicans Spar Over Seventh Attempt at Capital Gains Vote

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Another day, another attempt by Oklahoma House Democrats to get a vote on a bill ending the capital gains deduction.

Rep. Cory Williams tried his luck on Thursday, saying he wants to keep the tax break for agriculture. Appropriations and Budget Chair Kevin Williams said that would make it impossible for the Oklahoma Tax Commission to certify revenue for lawmakers to spend.

That didn’t sit well with Williams.

"There seems to be an unwillingness from [the tax commission] to actually certify it, even though they know from the filers, the 1,800 of them that filed it last year, exactly which ones of them are claiming an ag exemption or not," Williams said. "I happen to think it’s probably more politics than anything because Commissioner [Tony] Mastin would like to keep his job and you guys are running the train."

Rep. Ryan Martinez said Oklahomans voted for the tax break, and Democrats opposed a measure putting the three-fourths majority required for tax increases — something also passed by voters — on the ballot.

"The vast majority debated against that … because they said, 'The people have decided this issue,'" Martinez said.

Williams said Democrats want the supermajority in place to guard against lopsided negotiations.

"We get talked at and not talked with, and the 37,500 that I represent haven’t had a voice in this body for awhile because you think you can just mow over them," Williams said. "So, yes, I don’t support repealing the only protection the minority in this state has."

This is the seventh time House Democrats have tried to get a vote on ending the capital gains deduction. Republicans say it’s off the table.

Democrats again tried unsuccessfully to get votes on income tax hikes for the wealthy and state retiree cost of living adjustments as well.