Oklahoma

Economy, Energy, Natural Resources: Policy to People

Strong Lobbying Kills One Tax Credit Measure

Joe Wertz / NPR StateImpact

State Rep. David Dank, R-Oklahoma City, says lobbyists for the coal, wind industry and historical building rehabilitation fought hard to defeat his bill to end transferable tax credits.

One measure to end transferable tax credits was rejected Thursday by a state House subcommittee, which might predict trouble for proponents of reducing Oklahoma’s income tax.

Several bills filed to reduce the top income tax rate depend on eliminating most tax credits to offset the lost revenue.

And the lobbyists were out in full-force.

Tax credits are used to reduce the amount a company owes in state taxes. If the tax credits are transferable and a company receives more credits than they owe in taxes, they can sell the credits to another company or person. This is often done at 80 cents on the dollar, a practice that drew the ire of an interim legislative panel.

The subcommittee on revenue and taxation voted 6-3 not to pass the measure. Two subcommittee members were concerned about eliminating tax credits that created jobs, The Oklahoman’s Michael McNutt reports.

House Bill 2979, authored by state Rep. David Dank, R-Oklahoma City, would have eliminated credits for: railroad modernization, the coal industry, manufacturers of small wind turbines, those who rehabilitate historical buildings, energy-efficient home builders, and electricity generated by zero-emission facilities.

Dank said lobbyists for the wind power and coal industries, as well as those interested in renovating historical buildings, led the battle against his bill, the paper reports.

[bill id="HJR 1089" state=ok session="2011-2012" align=left]

On Thursday, the Tulsa City Council voted 8-1 to approve a resolution asking the state Legislature to keep the historic preservation tax credit, which the city’s preservation planner said has been key to the “revitalization of downtown Tulsa.”

But the issue isn’t over.

Another bill, Joint Resolution 1089, is still active. This measure would amend the state constitution to include criteria for tax credits. Eliminating transferable credits is among the criteria. Voters would decide on the issue with a state question on the November, 2012 ballot.


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