For Immediate Release: March 5, 2007
Senator Richard Lerblance
State Senate Approves Bill to Fund State’s Commitment
to Reimburse Counties, Schools
A measure that will ensure that the state meets
its financial obligations to reimburse counties and school districts
for ad valorem tax revenue lost as a result of economic development
incentives passed the Oklahoma State Senate Monday on a 25-23
Senate Bill 44 by Senator Richard
Lerblance would increase to 2 percent the amount of income
tax revenue each year that is directed to the Ad Valorem Reimbursement
Fund to be used exclusively to meet ad valorem reimbursement
commitments. It would also require the Tax Commission to determine
each year if there would be any shortfall in amounts needed
to pay claims against the fund and would further require the
Legislature to appropriate amounts needed to cover the shortfall.
“As a state we offer property tax incentives
to entice industry to locate in Oklahoma. We expect our counties
to build and maintain new roads and our schools to educate additional
children, but we haven’t been meeting our obligations
to reimburse them for the revenues they lose as a result of
the tax breaks,” said Lerblance, D-Hartshorne.
The Legislature has failed, Lerblance said, to
fulfill all of its ad valorem reimbursement commitments in recent
years because the commitments have exceeded the revenue in the
“Our counties and schools are left scrambling
to meet the new obligations that the tax incentives create.
This bill ensures that the state will meet its obligations to
counties and our schools,” Lerblance said.
The measure passed with the support of all 24
members of the Senate Democratic Caucus and just one Republican,
Senator Harry Coates, R-Seminole. Lerblance said opposition
by the 23 other Republicans in the Senate indicates that a “majority
of the Republicans don’t believe the state should meet
its obligations to county governments and our schools.”
The measure initially failed on the Senate floor
last week on a party-line vote. Lerblance moved to reconsider
the bill Monday and won passage.
For more information contact:
Senator Lerblance's Office - (405) 521-5604