Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Steele's Tax Credit Measure Clears Oklahoma House Rules Committee

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Steele's Tax Credit Measure Clears Oklahoma House Rules Committee

Article excerpt

House Speaker Kris Steele's measure to place tax credit criteria into the Oklahoma Constitution jumped its first hurdle Wednesday, passing out of the House Rules Committee.

"To the best of my ability, I'm going to fight to maintain these criteria," Steele, R-Shawnee, told the panel.

Members had raised questions about total elimination of the concept of transferability and other features of House Joint Resolution 1089. The constitutional amendment would require approval by a vote of the people.

State Rep. Larry Glenn, D-Miami, said he would hate to see wind energy projects lose the benefits that have helped that industry grow in Oklahoma.

Some wind-energy credits are transferable, meaning they can be bought and sold.

Steele said tax credits would have to result in a net benefit to taxpayers in order to meet the criteria, which came out of an interim study of tax credits headed up by state Rep. David Dank, R- Oklahoma City.

"If a tax credit meets these criteria, it stays," Steele said. "If not, it goes."

Dank said there needs to be a way to avoid giving one person a tax credit, then having someone not involved in the project for which the credit was issued benefit to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Including doing away with transferability, the criteria include job creation, aggregate caps on tax credit program amounts, requiring tax credit programs to go through the sunset review process and that each program be preapproved by the Legislature and audited, among others.

Amendments offered by state Rep. Joe Dorman, D-Rush Springs, to protect tax credits for volunteer firefighters, child care and earned income were tabled. Those credits are targeted for elimination in a report issued by another study, of the state's tax code. That task force listed numerous tax preferences totaling more than $350 million, which it recommended taking off the books to make up state revenue that would otherwise be lost from reducing the top state income tax rate.

State Rep. …

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