Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oklahoma County Assessor Leonard Sullivan: State Owes Counties $40M

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oklahoma County Assessor Leonard Sullivan: State Owes Counties $40M

Article excerpt

As the saying goes, insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different outcome. So where does that leave Oklahoma County Assessor Leonard Sullivan, who has been seeking millions of dollars in homestead tax exemptions from state officials since 2002?

"We probably will stop, eventually," Sullivan said. "And we almost have now. We're slick like a rock because they've worn us down on it. It's pretty obvious that they're not going to pay it and we're limited in the amount of pressure we can put on them."

"What we're saying is, at the end of the day if you're never going to pay it, then cancel the program. But they keep passing it on to us and leaving us short on our budgets."

Sullivan visited legislators recently on his annual pilgrimage to secure about $6 million in funds he said is owed to the county. The total owed to all the state's counties is about $40 million, he and other members of the County Officers and Deputies Association told the Senate's County and Municipal Government Subcommittee, headed by Vice Chairman Sen. Patrick Anderson.

Sullivan said the debt is based on "the failure of the state to pay for previously approved tax break plans for businesses before discussion of any future tax breaks."

"The state of Oklahoma has failed to pay more than $40 million in double homestead reimbursement and they haven't paid this debt owed to counties since 2002," he said.

Article 10 Section 6B of the state constitution specifies that when funds are insufficient to make all payments regarding the state's five-year manufacturing exemption and other similar homestead exemptions, the manufacturers' reimbursements receive priority, leaving counties unpaid, he said.

"The counties provide this double-homestead exemption, and until 2001 the state paid its debt to reimburse counties," he said. …

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