Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Group Rallies Behind Bill Designed to Lower Property Tax Cap in Oklahoma

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Group Rallies Behind Bill Designed to Lower Property Tax Cap in Oklahoma

Article excerpt

In the rotunda of the state Capitol, the man wearing a blue- eyed, white pig costume and black dress shoes clapped - rather, he slapped together his hands, wrapped in fabric hooves. He stood in front of a sign that read, "Don't pig out on our taxes!" Property owners waved their neon-colored signs in the air and shouted. Lawmakers and Oklahoma County officials lined up for a turn at the microphone.

The scene was orchestrated by Stuart Jolly, director of the Oklahoma chapter of Americans for Prosperity, to support a proposal to lower the cap on property tax increases from 5 percent to 3 percent per year.

"Do we have some taxed-out property owners?" Jolly asked the group.

His call was answered with shouts.

"We've played by the rules," said Jolly. "Now it's our turn. It's time to give property owners a break - and you deserve it."

Dave Herbert of the County Government Legislative Council said he hoped lawmakers were able to separate the facts from the rhetoric.

"The propaganda they were handing out contained more than a little misinformation," said Herbert.

Senate Joint Resolution 5, by state Sen. Jim Reynolds, R- Oklahoma City and state Rep. David Dank, R-Oklahoma City, successfully passed the Senate and will next be considered by members of the state House of Representatives.

The measure would prohibit county assessors from increasing the fair cash value of a homestead property by more than 3 percent in any taxable year. SJR 5 would preserve the current 5-percent cap for assessments on property that is not a homestead property. If SJR 5 is signed into law, the new cap would take effect Jan. 1.

Reynolds said assessors have been raising assessments by the full 5 percent allowed every year, causing homeowners' taxes to double in 14 years' time. It's not the county assessors' fault, said Reynolds; the law has to be changed. …

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