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

Nyk Daniels
A grocery store in Moore, Okla.

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

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Nyk has worked in radio since 2011 serving as a board operator, on-air announcer and production director for commercial radio stations in Iowa. Originally from the Quad Cities area, Nyk joined KGOU in 2018 as a practicum student studying Creative Media Production at OU. Upon graduating the following year, he became part of KGOU’s staff and is now the local Morning Edition host. When not on the air, Nyk likes to read, listen to music and follow news about the radio industry.
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