As CCH’s Lisa Tracey recently reported, the Oklahoma Supreme Court has struck down H.B. 2032, which reduced the top personal income tax rate in Oklahoma from 5.25% to 5% beginning January 1, 2015 (see Fent v. Fallin). In addition to the rate reduction, the bill provided for the creation of a fund (Oklahoma State Capitol Building Repair and Restoration Fund) to make repairs to the State Capitol building, calling for $60 million to be used for capitol repairs in the 2014 fiscal year, which began July 1, 2013, and an additional $60 million to be set aside for repairs in the 2015 fiscal year.
According to the court, the statute is unconstitutional as it violates the single subject rule mandated by Art. 5, §57, of the Oklahoma Constitution. Under the test to determine if a statute’s provisions are related to a single subject, those voting on the law must be able to make a choice without being misled, and also must not be forced to make an all or nothing choice between two unrelated provisions contained in one measure. Taxation policy and the appropriation of funds for improvements to the State Capitol building are not germane, relative, or cognate to a readily apparent common theme and purpose. Accordingly, H.B. 2032 is void.