Friday, June 19, 2009

Open Door Policy - June 15, 2009

I had a fun day on Saturday as that I had the chance to watch the filming of a major motion picture that is shooting in Oklahoma City and Guthrie. This is a great business opportunity for our state and brings in a boost to our economy. This was assisted by tax credits the legislature has passed in recent years and which we elevated this past year in our omnibus tax bill. I wanted to take the opportunity this week to discuss a little more about that bill.
Senate Bill 318, which I coauthored and debated for this past session, restructured many tax policies for the state. I will run through a few of the key sections of the bill:
Section 1 establishes for county decals on vehicle tags to allow for easier identification of where a vehicle is registered. This goes back to the way the tags used to be issued and has been requested by many citizens for years to switch back to that system;
Sections 2 and 3 authorize the disclosure of names of persons via an Internet website who owe delinquent taxes, including interest, penalties and fees of more than $25,000. People will be notified by mail 90 days before being placed on the website. This has been a successful program in other states for collecting overdue taxes from individuals;
Section 4 amends the OTC mailing procedures for updating of addresses;
Section 5 allows for the contracting with a debt collection agency for delinquent taxes;
Section 6 allows for funds to be placed into a computer enhancement fund;
Section 7 exempts rural irrigation districts, conservancy districts and master conservancy districts from motor fuel taxes;
Section 8 extends existing sales tax exemption for conservancy districts to subcontractors of such districts for construction projects;
Section 9 allows investment tax credits to be used even if there is a change in the corporate structure to help avoid refiling of paperwork;
Section 10 provides Oklahoma will decouple from the federal stimulus package as it relates to:
*Expansion of net operating losses;
*Increase of small business expensing;
*Income tax deduction for motor vehicle excise tax paid in 2009; and
*Exemption for unemployed benefits.
Section 10 also includes language which will exempt the requirement of payment on income taxes for premium checks earned by 4-H and FFA students up to $600 by classifying those as scholarships;
Section 11 decouples the state from the stimulus package for bonus depreciation;
Section 12 provides that beginning on March 1, 2010; certain employers will remit payments to the state consistent with their federal requirement under the Federal Semiweekly Deposit Schedule;
Section 13 provides a waiver of the payroll requirement for certain entities relating to an ad valorem exemption;
Section 14 modifies the Oklahoma Film Enhancement Rebate Program, including expansion of rebates of certain expenses from 17% to 35% made to production companies to attract more films to our state and lowers the minimum budget requrirement;
Section 15, 16 and 17 relate to the wine and grape industry in Oklahoma by creating the Oklahoma Viticulture and Enology Center Development Revolving Fund and dedicating funding from the apportionment of certain excise tax of alcoholic beverages, not to exceed $350,000. These sections also establish a Viticulture and Enology Center at an Oklahoma college, develop education programs, develop technologies to aid grape and wine production and increase the positive economic impact on the Oklahoma wine industry;
Section 18 authorizes a study relating to state and local communications taxes;
Sections 19 and 20 exempt irrigation districts and conservancy districts from motor fuel excise taxes; and
Section 21 provides a market equalization assessment payable by Compsource to the General Revenue Fund.
I'm sorry I did not have more room to give greater detail in regards to this legislation. Should you desire a copy of the bill, or any other bill, you can get them at the House website ( ) or you can contact my office and we can get one to you. While I do not agree with every section, I think the overall impact of this will be good for our state.
It is an honor to represent your views at the State Capitol. If you wish to contact me and discuss one of these or another issue, I can be reached at my office in Oklahoma City toll-free at 1-800-522-8502, or directly at 1-405-557-7305. My e-mail address is at work. My mailing address is PO Box 559, Rush Springs, OK 73082 and my website is on the Internet. Thank you for taking time to read this column and I look forward to seeing you soon.

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