Muskogee Politico: Fallin, McCall, Schulz comment on Cigarette Tax ruling

State leaders are starting to weigh in on the Oklahoma Supreme Court striking down the Cigarette Tax Smoking Cessation Fee. First up, the three members of state government who pushed the unconstitutional tax and were named in the lawsuit: Governor Mary Fallin, House Speaker Charles McCall, and Senate Pro Tem Mike Schulz.
 
Governor Mary Fallin Statement on the Oklahoma Supreme Court 
Striking Down Smoking Cessation Fee
OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin today issued the following statement in response to the Oklahoma Supreme Court striking down a smoking cessation fee approved this past legislative session: “I am disappointed to hear the Supreme Court struck down the smoking cessation fee, but I certainly respect the justices’ authority. I will be discussing with legislative leaders from both parties the need to address the $215 million shortfall this will create for the Department of Human Services, the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, the three agencies that received the bulk of the money that was to be generated by the cessation fee. “These agencies and the people they serve cannot sustain the kind of cuts that will occur if we do not find a solution. My belief is we will have to come into special session to address this issue.”
 
House Speaker McCall Releases Statement after Court Ruling
OKLAHOMA CITY – House Speaker Charles McCall issued the following statement today regarding the Oklahoma Supreme Court's decision on Senate Bill 845. "The Court has made their ruling and now it is up to the Governor and legislative leaders to agree on the best course of action moving forward. "It is important to remember that the reason our budget has been suffering is because Oklahoma families and businesses have been struggling.  State revenues are a reflection of the people of our state.  When our citizens have less money in their pockets to spend the state will realize less revenues.  I am a firm believer that government must live within its means. "The tobacco fee for health care was passed in an effort to avoid significant budget cuts. After House Democrats refused time and again to support increased revenue measures, the fee was our only opportunity to balance the budget without deeper cuts. The minority party decided to play games with the budget, and now that opportunity has passed. "I look forward to working with the Governor and the Senate to overcome this latest challenge."
 
Senate Pro Tem comments on Supreme Court ruling
Statement from Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Schulz on Thursday’s Oklahoma Supreme Court ruling regarding the cigarette fee. “While I disagree, I appreciate the Oklahoma Supreme Court’s quick ruling allowing the governor and the Legislature to immediately address the matter. There are several options available to us, and Senate leadership will continue to work with the governor’s office and House on deciding the best move forward.” – Pro Tem Mike Schulz, R-Altus Source post SaveSave