Public housing legislation heads to House
A measure that would help the state’s
107 housing authorities recoup millions in unpaid rent
and property damages each year was approved in the Senate.
Senate Bill 1019, by Sen. Earl
Garrison, would allow public housing authorities to
file claims with the Oklahoma Tax Commission to garnish
former tenants’ personal income tax refunds for
any monies owed for rent or property damage.
“This bill provides housing authorities an avenue
to recoup financial losses caused by irresponsible tenants,”
said Garrison, D-Muskogee. “Rent in public housing
is based on one’s income so there’s no reason
why these individuals can’t afford to pay their
bill each month. By skipping out on their bills, they’re
simply abusing the system and this bill will hold them
|State agencies, municipal courts and district courts
currently collect debts, unpaid fines and costs of final
judgments of at least $50 from personal income tax refunds
through the Warrant Intercept Program.
The Tulsa Housing Authority (THA) currently has just over
$5.5 million in outstanding debt due to unpaid rent and
property damage, while the Oklahoma City Housing Authority
(OCHA) accrued a combined outstanding debt of $575,000
during 2010 and 2011.
The THA was allowed to participate in the Warrant Intercept
Program in 2007 for eleven months and was able to recover
$470,000. THA and OCHA officials believe that by participating
in the Warrant Intercept program, they’ll be able
to recoup most of their losses.
SB 1019 will next be heard in the House.