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Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, OK 73105

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For Immediate Release: March 5, 2007

Senator Richard Lerblance
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 vote.

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 Reimbursement Fund.

“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

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