Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

House Passes $445 Million Tax Hike

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

House Passes $445 Million Tax Hike

Article excerpt

A bill calling for $445.6 million in tax increases - the largest in Oklahoma's history - passed the state House of Representatives on Monday.

Last year, the Legislature passed a $282 million tax increase.

The House tax bill originally was touted as a $285 million tax increase. That figure applies to fiscal 1986, which begins July 1.

The full impact of the tax bill - and its $445.6 million total in increased revenues - will not be felt until fiscal 1987.

About 600 teachers watched from the House gallery Monday while lawmakers debated the bill for more than an hour.

Teachers would get $2,000 per-year raises, if House Bill 1219 passes the Senate in its current form. A total of $256 million would be earmarked for education, if this tax package becomes law.

Oklahoma ranks 47th in the nation in average teacher salaries, Rep. Cal Hobson, the bill's author, reminded House members on Monday.

"This is a watershed year," Hobson said. "This is the year when we decide whether we're going to have quality education in this state - from kindergarten through graduate school."

House Speaker Jim Barker, who had pushed the tax plan, said:

"This is the year when we decide whether to go forward or go back to the Dust Bowl days."

About $223.6 million in new taxes are proposed by House Bill 1219.

The remaining $222 million would come from extending the temporary 1-cent sales tax. That amount would be collected over 12 months, with $92 million expected in revenues for the last five months offiscal 1986.

The temporary third penny in state sales tax was enacted in 1984. It will expire Dec. 31 if this bill does not become law.

A proposal to double the corporate franchise tax rate - from $1.25 to $2.50 per $1,000 in capital assets - is among the new tax increases outlined in House Bill 1219.

The ceiling on the corporate franchise tax also would be raised, so a firm's maximum tax bill could be $100,000 - instead of $20,000, the current limit.

Rep. Steve Lewis, chairman of the House budget committee, said he was tired of hearing complaints from House members and the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce about the proposal to raise the corporate franchise tax. …

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