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Stitt supports ending state sales tax on groceries

(AP) – Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt hit on some familiar conservative themes during his fourth annual State of the State address on Monday, like more government efficiency and a better infrastructure and business climate.

But he also gave his support to a longtime priority for Democrats — eliminating the state sales tax on groceries.

The first-term Republican, who faces reelection this year, also presented his executive budget proposal to help kick off the 2022 legislative session.

“Many Oklahomans are already struggling under the weight of record inflation,” Stitt told lawmakers. “Let’s give them more help this year. Because, after all, we need more taxpayers, not more taxes.”

Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, also has introduced a bill to abolish the state sales tax on groceries.

The state currently imposes a 4.5% sales tax on groceries. Local jurisdictions often impose additional sales taxes that can increase the tax rate on groceries to more than 10% in many communities.

Stitt also renewed his criticism of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark court decision on criminal jurisdiction in Indian Country, known as the McGirt decision.

“From the beginning, I’ve sounded the alarm on the Supreme Court’s McGirt decision,” said Stitt, who is a member of the Cherokee Nation. “Because I knew then, and I know now, that even a narrow Supreme Court ruling can fundamentally change a state.

“Oklahoma has been robbed of the authority to prosecute crimes.”

Stitt’s comments drew immediate criticism from tribal leaders, including Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr., who urged the governor to work with tribal nations instead of constantly fighting in the courts.


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