Oklahoma voters say no to fuel tax

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Oklahoma voters bludgeoned an ill-timed proposal to raise fuel taxes 8 cents per gallon for diesel and 5 cents per gallon for gas. In the Sept. 13 vote, 87 percent of voters cast ballots against State Question 723.

The current Oklahoma fuel tax is 14 cents per gallon on diesel and 17 cents per gallon on gas, so the proposed increases would have evened both taxes at 22 cents per gallon.

The proposal was meant to help fund improvements in the state’s transportation system and was backed by Oklahomans for Safe Bridges and Roads, a coalition of businesses, chambers of commerce and organizations.

“This was a tough sell from the beginning,” said the organization’s chairman, Neal McCaleb. “But when the gas prices rose to the levels of $3 a gallon, I think it became an impossible sell.”

State officials will certify election results Sept. 20. The unofficial voter turnout tally was 349,850 against and 51,306 for the increase, according to the Oklahoma Election Board.