Gary Richardson today expressed his disappointment in the 5-4 decision upholding the Oklahoma Car Sales Tax. However, Richardson laid the responsibility of the tax increase squarely at the Lt. Governor, Todd Lamb for not doing his job as the President of the State Senate.
I'm surprised that our State Supreme Court in a 5-4 vote can look at a law which brings millions more into the state coffers and say it doesn't increase revenue," said Richardson. "But what shouldn't be lost with today's decision is that our Lt. Governor, Todd Lamb, could have stopped this tax from becoming law in the first place."
Richardson then explained how the Oklahoma Lt. Governor is the one constitutionally in charge of the State Senate. "According to Article 5, Section 28 of the State Constitution, the Lt. Governor is the one who presides over the State Senate," said Richardson. "Lamb could have taken the gavel of the State Senate and refused to let any of the tax bills be heard."
"If stopping the tax increases was important to our Lt. Governor, believe me, he could have gotten it done and protected the citizens of our state from all of these new taxes," continued Richardson. Richardson then explained when Mary Fallin was Lt. Governor in 2000, she used the same power that Todd Lamb has to take over the State Senate to have Right to Work legislation heard.
"Now, because of the failure of our Lt. Governor to execute his constitutional duties and the State Supreme Court effectively gutting State Question 640 that was passed by an overwhelming majority of Oklahomans in 1992, the Oklahoma Legislature now has over $10 billion in tax exemptions that they can eliminate without a vote of the people, all in violation of the people's intent when they passed State Question 640," said Richardson.
Richardson continued, "The one silver lining I take from the Oklahoma Supreme Court's decision today is that they made the stakes for the next Oklahoma Governor crystal clear : Oklahoma needs Governor who will be a defender of the Constitution; Oklahoma needs Governor who will audit every State Agency, Trust, and Authority; and Oklahoma needs a Governor who will stand on our conservative principles."
"I believe I am that person and as Governor of Oklahoma, I promise to oppose any attempt by the Oklahoma Legislature to increase revenue without a vote of the people or 3/4 of the legislators' votes," said Richardson. "I will honor State Question 640 and our Constitution, no doubt about it."