Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oklahoma Legislators Speak out on OTC, SQ 744

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oklahoma Legislators Speak out on OTC, SQ 744

Article excerpt

Legislative leaders tiptoed around the issue of the Oklahoma Tax Commission collecting sales taxes during the Tulsa Metro Chamber's Speaker Pro Tempore Forum on Tuesday.

Speaker of the House Chris Benge, Speaker-designate Kris Steele and state Sen. Brian Bingman eventually came out in support of the OTC over communities collecting their own sales tax.

The three legislators touched on a number of subjects, but the common theme was their opposition to State Question 744.

Tulsa signed a contract with an Alabama company to collect the city's sales tax prior to a state law requiring the city to only deal with the Oklahoma Tax Commission.

House Bill 2359, passed on the last day of the session in May, requires municipalities to deal with the OTC in sales tax collections. The city of Tulsa pays the OTC $2 million annually for the service.

Tulsa moved to privative its sales tax collections prior to Gov. Brad Henry signing the measure into law. Tulsa claims the pact with Birmingham, Ala.-based Revenue Discovery Systems saves Tulsa 40 percent, or $80,000, compared to what the city pays to the OTC, said Mayor Dewey Bartlett Jr.

Tulsa filed suit against the state of Oklahoma last month, targeting the law requiring cities to use the Oklahoma Tax Commission to collect sales tax.

The issues came up during the question-and-answer portion of the forum before the business community at the Warren Place DoubleTree Hotel on Tuesday.

"We funded the Tax Commission more money to hire more people and we hope to see better results," said Bingman, a Sapulpa Republican. Bingman was substituting for President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee, who was unable to attend.

"As far as the city of Tulsa suing the state: I am on the outside looking in," Bingman said. "Certainly, I think we are used to the Tax Commission performing that function."

Steele, a Shawnee Republican, said while he was in favor of local control, the Legislature did pass the bill earlier this year requiring that cities use the Tax Commission. …

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