Capitol Report Political Notebook: Tax credit fight marches on
BY RANDY KREHBIEL World Staff Writer
Sunday, February 10, 2013
2/10/13 at 3:17 AM
Rep. David Dank, R-Oklahoma City, said last week that he will propose requiring all tax credits be changed, reauthorized or eliminated by July 1, 2014. Those not addressed by that date would be automatically end, or "sunsetted."
"It is very clear that any effort to reduce state income taxes for all Oklahomans has run aground on the tax credit issue," Dank said. "We cannot give real tax relief to all while we continue to pass out hundreds of millions of dollars in questionable tax credits to a favored few."
Dank is endeavoring to put in place criteria for existing and future tax credits. Those criteria would include auditing, cost-benefit analysis, cost and time caps and a requirement that any tax credit would create or sustain high-paying, permanent jobs. Dank said a primary goal will be ending the use of transferable tax credits that can be bought and sold.
Shift in tax incentive proposed
A measure that could have a significant impact on schools and economic development cleared the Revenue and Taxation Subcommittee of the House Appropriations and Budget Committee last week.
House Joint Resolution 1032 by Rep. Jeff Hickman, R-Fairview, proposes a state constitutional amendment to change a property tax exemption for manufacturing from a statewide program to a county option.
As it is now, the program exempts property taxes on new construction for manufacturing and certain other purposes for five years. The state reimburses schools and other local governments for the lost tax revenue through a fund that rakes off 1 percent of state income tax revenue.
But the 1 percent revenue stream is not always sufficient to meet the cost of the program, and that has caused budgeting problems for schools and local governments.
Hickman proposes eliminating the reimbursement fund and letting counties decide whether they want to offer manufacturing exemptions and at what level. Hickman said the general fund would get about $30 million a year more by abolishing the current system. On the other hand, schools and local governments would lose whatever counties decided to exempt.
Another proposal, HB 1744 by Rep. Harold Wright, R-Weatherford, seeks to solve the reimbursement fund problem by increasing its share of income tax revenue from 1 percent to 1 1/2 percent.
Dems oppose water measure
House Democrats objected strenuously after a House committee approved a bill repealing the usage guidelines in a water bill adopted last year.
The Water for 2060 Act, as it was known, is the only recommendation from the state's $6 million Comprehensive Water Plan to make it into law. Among other things, it calls for but does not require the state to use no more water in 2060 than it does now.
Rep. Paul Wesselhoft, R-Moore, called that "idiotic" and noted that Oklahoma City's Lake Hefner was in danger of losing its boating season because of the drought.
Rep. Brian Renegar, D-McAlester, compared water planning to interstate highway planning, and said, if not for interstate highways "we'd still be driving on pig trails."