Supreme Court Weighs Legality of New Taxes Including One on Hybrid and Electric Cars

The Oklahoma Supreme Court now must decide on the three lawsuits filed in challenge of three new taxes and one tax deduction change following oral arguments Tuesday morning.

Justices held three separate hearings on the suits and listened to 3 hours of arguments against the taxes.

Attorney James Naifeh, representing GOP Gubernatorial candidate Gary Richardson gave arguments in the last of the three hearings. Richardson’s lawsuit challenged the electric-vehicle fee, claiming like the other taxes, it was illegally created by the legislature.

Justices had their questions of Naifeh who defended the suit.

“We all can appreciate the dilemma the legislative body may have had, as well as Gov. Fallin, but exigent financial circumstances do not justify violations of the constitution,” said Naifeh.

He called it a “closing of the gap measure” similar to what the legislature did two years earlier.

“I respectfully submit this house bill 1449, passed in the last five days, did not receive a super majority. Its intent was to raise revenue. And it raised revenue because it was called a fee. A registration fee.”

Under questioning from the justices, Naifeh admitted his client, Gary Richardson does not own an electric or hybrid vehicle but likely will in the future.

Listen to part of Naifeh’s arguments.