OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb resigned Thursday from his position on Gov. Mary Fallin’s Cabinet, citing a disagreement with the governor over her plans to broaden the sales tax to a variety of services.
Lamb, a likely candidate for governor in 2018, said in a statement that he felt it was best to step aside from his position as the administration’s official small business advocate because he was unwilling to be an advocate for Fallin’s tax proposals.
“While I respect the determination with which Governor Fallin met her obligation to present a balanced budget to the Legislature, I cannot support her proposed tax increases,” Lamb said. “This proposal will adversely harm Oklahoma’s small businesses and families, especially those in our service industry.”
With the state facing a projected budget shortfall of nearly $870 million for the upcoming fiscal year, Fallin has proposed broadening the state sales tax to include dozens of services that are currently exempt. She’s also proposed increasing the sales tax on cigarettes and fuel, while eliminating the state sales tax on groceries and the corporate income tax.
Fallin said she learned of Lamb’s decision from a press release and that she was disappointed in his decision.
“I have always valued Todd’s independent voice,” Fallin said in a statement. “I’ve never been afraid to have dissenting voices at the table. I think the people of Oklahoma benefit from that.”
Lamb’s resignation does not affect his position as lieutenant governor, a post he has held since 2010 and is typically viewed as a launching pad to higher office. Oklahoma’s last lieutenant governor, Jari Askins, launched an unsuccessful bid for governor in 2010. Before that, Fallin served for three terms in the post before running for a U.S. House seat.