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Oklahoma lawmakers on both sides of the aisle push for removal of sales tax on groceries

Nyk Daniels
/
KGOU

Oklahoma lawmakers on both sides of the aisle want to remove a tax on groceries. The state is one of six in the nation that fully taxes groceries, but Rep. Sean Roberts, R-Hominy, and House Minority Leader Emily Virgin, D-Norman, want to change that.

Right now, Oklahomans must pay the full 4.5% state sales tax on groceries, plus applicable local taxes. However, there is a sales tax relief credit for low-income residents.

Roberts previously filed House Bill 2844 last session and is advocating for its passage again this session.

"We currently have a surplus in funds [in Oklahoma] and revenues are up, so now is the time to bring this much-needed relief to Oklahoma families," Roberts said in a news release.

Virgin has filed House Bill 3621. According to the Democratic leader, the difference between her bill and Roberts' is that his calls for a vote of the people and hers does not.

"Most Americans live in an area where there isn’t a state tax on groceries. Oklahomans can too," Virgin said in a press release last year after conducting a study examining the benefits of ending the state sales tax on groceries.

The proposed legislation will be considered during the upcoming legislative session, which begins Feb. 7.

 A map indicating how groceries, candy and soda are taxed by state as of Jan 1, 2020.
TaxFoundation.org
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A map indicating how groceries, candy and soda are taxed by state as of Jan 1, 2020.

Nyk Daniels is KGOU’s Morning Edition host.
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