Repub­li­can Stitt says he wouldn’t vote to re­peal tax in­creases

The Oklahoman (Sunday) - - NEWS - BY CHRIS CASTEEL Staff Writer ccas­teel@oklahoman.com

I’m not go­ing to vote for it. I am not go­ing to vote to re­peal that be­cause I think that is look­ing back­wards.” Repub­li­can gu­ber­na­to­rial can­di­date Kevin Stitt

Repub­li­can gu­ber­na­to­rial can­di­date Kevin Stitt says he would not vote to re­peal the tax hikes ap­proved by the Leg­is­la­ture in March, though he has pre­vi­ously said that he would not have signed the tax pack­age.

In an in­ter­view on KFAQ ra­dio in Tulsa ear­lier this month, talk show host Pat Camp­bell asked Stitt whether he would vote to re­peal the pack­age if the ques­tion made a statewide bal­lot.

Stitt, of Tulsa, laughed a cou­ple of times be­fore an­swer­ing.

“How am I per­son­ally go­ing to vote?” he said.

“I’m not go­ing to vote for it. I am not go­ing to vote to re­peal that be­cause I think that is look­ing back­wards.”

The pack­age raised taxes on cig­a­rettes, mo­tor fu­els and some oil and gas pro­duc­tion to pro­vide teach­ers an av­er­age an­nual pay raise of $6,100. In re­ply­ing to ques­tions at gu­ber­na­to­rial fo­rums last month, Stitt said that he would not have signed the pack­age if he had been gov­er­nor.

Camp­bell pointed out that Stitt had signed the pledge prof­fered by Ok­la­homa Tax­pay­ers Unite!, the group cir­cu­lat­ing pe­ti­tions to place re­peal of the tax pack­age on the bal­lot.

Stitt said, “Yes. What the pledge is talk­ing about is shift­ing to con­sump­tion taxes. That is what the pledge is. The pledge is also re­form­ing state gov­ern­ment where we can hire the right peo­ple to run the state agen­cies.”

Ronda Vuille­mon­tSmith, one of the lead­ers of Ok­la­homa Tax­pay­ers Unite!, said the pledge was to ad­here to the prin­ci­ples of the Ok­la­homa Tax­pay­ers Plat­form, in­clud­ing fis­cal re­spon­si­bil­ity, lim­ited gov­ern­ment, struc­tural re­forms, fair tax­a­tion and oth­ers.

She said, “Vot­ing against the veto, in my opin­ion, is a vote to raise taxes. It’s pretty black and white.”

Donelle Harder, spokesper­son for Stitt, said that Stitt “has said con­sis­tently that as gov­er­nor he is not for new taxes. The one thing we know for cer­tain is that the next gov­er­nor of Ok­la­homa is go­ing to in­herit a mess be­cause ca­reer politi­cians have been mak­ing short-term de­ci­sions to keep them­selves elected.”

Vuille­mont-Smith said the Ok­la­homa Tax­pay­ers Unite! pledge was also signed by Repub­li­can gu­ber­na­to­rial can­di­dates Gary Richard­son and Dan Fisher, along with Lib­er­tar­ian gu­ber­na­to­rial can­di­dates Chris Pow­ell and Rex Lawhorn.

Fisher and Richard­son said last week that they would vote to re­peal the tax hikes if the ques­tion makes it to a state bal­lot.

Repub­li­can gu­ber­na­to­rial can­di­date Mick Cor­nett, who did not sign the pledge, said at a fo­rum last month that he is glad Gov. Mary Fallin signed the tax pack­age. GOP can­di­date Gary Jones sup­ported the tax pack­age and has said it mir­rored one he pro­posed. Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb’s cam­paign man­ager de­clined to pro­vide a com­ment. Lamb has said he would not have signed the tax pack­age.

Kevin Stitt

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