Sales tax plan draws opposition

Friday, May 9th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP)_ A late-developing tax program appeared on shaky ground Thursday as Republicans denounced it and Democratic Gov. Brad Henry said he remains cool to key provisions.

Henry said during his 2002 gubernatorial campaign that he opposed eliminating sales tax exemptions on services, ``and I remain very cool toward that,'' he said Thursday.

The first-year governor said he would keep an open mind until he sees the details of the plan and discusses it with Democrats and Republicans.

He indicated he liked the idea of eliminating the sales tax on groceries, which is part of a bill being developed by Rep. Jim Wilson, D-Tahlequah.

``As I have said over and over again, I don't like sales taxes,'' the governor said. ``I believe sales taxes are the most regressive taxes on the books.

``It seems to be the easiest tax to talk about raising, but I think it has a potentially far more negative impact than any other kinds of taxes.''

Wilson headed a committee that came up with the idea of removing sales exemptions to raise cash for schools and restore some services being cut because of the state budget crunch.

Under the plan, the 4.5 percent sales tax on groceries would eventually be eliminated, making the plan revenue neutral.

While taxes have been a hot topic at the Capitol, some lawmakers said there is a good chance no significant tax plan would come up for a vote this year in the House, where revenue-raising bills must originate.