Tax credit reform aim of new state House committee
BY BARBARA HOBEROCK World Capitol Bureau
Thursday, July 26, 2012
7/26/12 at 7:37 AM
OKLAHOMA CITY - House Speaker Kris Steele on Wednesday announced the creation of another panel to take a look at tax credits and economic incentives.
A committee last year issued a number of recommendations, many of which were ignored by lawmakers who had said they wanted to pass a tax cut but failed to follow through. Reducing the state's income tax rate was something that was highly touted on the campaign trail.
Tax-cut supporters said incentives and credits needed to be reformed to pay for any reduction in the personal income tax.
Steele on Wednesday announced the creation of the House Tax Credit and Economic Incentive Oversight Committee.
Last session, he appointed the Task Force on State Tax Credits and Economic Incentives. The panel, which met 10 times, recommended preapproval and transparency for all tax credits. It also approved recommendations for strict controls on credits and economic incentives. It recommended eliminating transferable tax credits, creating caps and annual audits.
Rep. David Dank, R-Oklahoma City, was chairman of the task force and will lead the new panel as well. It will be limited to lawmakers.
Dank said a possible mistake last time was not having additional lawmakers on the panel to give them more exposure to the issues.
Last year's panel took considerable time studying individual credits and incentives.
Dank said the new panel will study criteria for credits and incentives. It will also evaluate preapproval, auditing and cost benefit analysis for credits and incentives.
The new panel is expected to hold meetings from September to November.
"Tax credits that help create jobs and return more to the state than they cost are worthwhile, but many others amount to giveaways that provide no net benefit to the state," said Steele, R-Shawnee. "As fiscal conservatives, our focus remains on keeping valuable tax credits that grow our economy while reforming or eliminating the rest."
The panel will review credits and incentives claimed by businesses, not individuals.
"A primary reason legislators failed to agree on tax cuts for all 3.5 million Oklahomans last session was that they failed to address a widely abused tax credit system that gives hundreds of millions each year to a favored few," Dank said.
"Step one to responsibly reducing the income tax is for the Legislature to saddle up and eliminate sweetheart tax giveaways."
House members on the commitee are: Earl Sears, R-Bartlesville; Jeff Hickman, R-Dacoma; Mike Jackson, R-Enid; Scott Martin, R-Norman; Marty Quinn, R-Claremore; Todd Thomsen, R-Ada; Harold Wright, R-Elk City; Scott Inman, D-Del City; Jeannie McDaniel, D-Tulsa; and Richard Morrissette, D-Oklahoma City.
Original Print Headline: New panel to study credits
Barbara Hoberock 405-528-2465
House Speaker Kris Steele: Many tax credits for businesses "amount to giveaways that provide no net benefit to the state."