Oklahoma governor vows to keep vetoing laws until school choice, tax cuts are passed
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt indicated Friday that he would continue vetoing unrelated bills until the House and Senate agree on school choice and tax cuts.
Stitt vetoed 20 unrelated Senate bills this week, all with the same message.
“Until we get tax cuts, until we get parent choice done, we are not going to do all this other stuff for lobbyists and special interest groups,” Stitt said at his weekly news conference. “Let’s get those things done and then we will be happy to talk about some other things in the budget.”
The House and Senate have passed two versions of the school choice bill this week.
House Bill 1934 would give tax credits that parents can use to send their children to the school of their choice. The bill has tiered income requirements.
Parents with a household income of $75,000 or less would receive $7,500, the largest credit. The smallest credit, $5,000, would go to household incomes of $250,000 or less. The bill caps the amount of tax credits at $150 million the first year and increases the cap in subsequent years.
The House passed House Bill 1935, which does not include income limits. The tax credits would begin at $5,000 for the 2023 tax year before reaching $6,500 in tax year 2025. The bill caps the credits at $200 million for the 2023 tax year and removes the cap by the 2025 tax year.
“I don’t like the fact that they’re capping it,” Stitt said.
Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat said after Thursday’s vote, the chamber will not be bullied.
“We are being bullied again by the executive branch that is vetoing bills with a veto message that simply says, ‘any senator that does go in line and get in line with his plan verbatim will have their bills vetoed, not because the merit or lack thereof on that bill, but because of petty disagreements in trying to bully this body into a position,” Treat said. “We will not be bullied.”‘
Stitt said the two chambers are talking and he is “very optimistic that we’re going to land the plane.”
“I am trying to push them together to come up with something that can work for every Oklahoman,” the governor said.