A bill whichwould give an insurance
premium tax credit to out-of-state insurance companies which
establish a regional home office in Oklahoma was signed by Gov.
Henry Bellmon Friday.
However, the governor vetoed another bill which would give
certain businesses an income tax credit for purchasing equipment
that would result in the hiring of additional employees.
House Bill 1176, authored by Rep. A.C. Holden, D-Dewey, has been
called the "State Farm bill," because it was designed specifically
to entice State Farm Insurance Co. of Bloomington, Ind., to
establish a regional home office for the Oklahoma-Kansas area.
State Farm currently is considering Broken Arrow and Wichita for
the site of the new office, which would employ approximately 600
Though Bellmon signed the bill, he issued a statement that
possible changes in the state's premium tax laws in the next
legislative session could affect House Bill 1176.
"The state and 55 foreign insurance companies which have paid
the premium tax under protest for the past half dozen years have
reached a tentative settlement of lawsuits challenging the tax,"
"If this settlement is consummated, as I hope it will be, the
state will conduct a study of the premium tax area during the
interim between legislative sessions," he continued. "this study may
show that this tax should be completely restructured. If so, House
Bill 1176 could be affected."
When contacted Friday, Holden said he did not believe the
tentative settlement the governor and the attorney general's office
had reached earlier this week with out-of-state insurance companies
will have any effect on his bill.
That settlement is expected to result in $70 million being paid
to the state and $35 million being paid to the involved insurers
from a $117 million fund in the state treasurer's office consisting
of premium tax credits paid under protest by foreign insurers for
the past six years.
Holden was the author of the bill which put into effect the law
which requires insurers to pay a 4 percent tax on each insurance
premium they write in state. Foreign firms are eligible for a total
tax credit if they invest 30 percent or more of their total assets
House Bill 1176 passed with unbelievable speed, in comparison
with most other legislation this session, through both the House of
Representatives and Senate Thursday.
According to Holden, the quick passage of the bill was prompted
by Sen. Ged Wright, R-Tulsa, in whose district State Farm is
considering locating its office.
"I frankly wasn't interested in moving the bill through unless
it looked like State Farm was really going to come here," said
Holden. "The people at State Farm have never talked to me about the
bill, so I've wondered if they thought it was important at all. …