With the second session of the 44th Oklahoma Legislature well
under way, Oklahoma City's real estate industry has taken active
positions on several proposals.
Ad valorem tax reform heads the list of key issues for lobbyists
with the local arm of the National Association of Realtors, said
Jamie O'Neill, legislative committee chairwoman. She said the
group favors House Bill 1750, sponsored by Speaker of the House Jim
Barker, D-Muskogee, and Rep. Steve Lewis, D-Shawnee, which was
designed to create equalization of taxation.
House Bill 1750 was approved Wednesday by the Oklahoma House of
Representatives, along with House Joint Resolution 1045, also by
Barker and Lewis. The two measures, which now go before the
Oklahoma Senate for consideration, would establish a new ad valorem
property assessment system:
- Under the joint resolution, state voters would decide if all
property in the state should be assessed at 100 percent of its fair
cash value, with a rollback in millage rates to a revenue neutral
system. Voters in the different school districts and counties then
would be allowed to vote for a higher or lower millage, which could
not exceed 10 percent for any one year.
- House Bill 1750 would put many of the statutory changes into
effect as required by House Joint Resolution 1045. Among the
provisions of the bill is a uniform system of property assessment
for all counties, with visual inspection every four years. A 25
percent assessment of all the property in the county could be
conducted every year.
In addition, the bill provides for training of assessors and
officials seeking the assessors' office.
Creating reform in the taxation practices throughout the state
would mean that properties are assessed according to their "fair
market value" and not according to how much money is needed in the
county coffers to float bond issues, she said.
"The current system is antique, and unfair," she said.
House Bill 1794 seeks to raise fee amounts paid for documentary
stamps affixed for the transfer or conveyance of properties. It
has the support of the Oklahoma Nature Conservancy, since monies
created by the measure would be directed to untamed prairies and
grass lands, but is opposed by the Realtors association, O'Neill
"Raising the fee from $1.50 per $1,000 (evaluation of property)
to $2.25 per $1,000 is unjustified," she said. "We think additional
funds should not be the responsibility of buyers and sellers of
properties. Let them (the legislators) raise additional funds by
(raising fees for) hunting and fishing licenses."
Another bill seen as critical by Realtors was House Bill 1956,
sponsored by Rep. Leonard Sullivan of Oklahoma City. If it becomes
law, the Oklahoma Real Estate Commission, a regulatory body
supported by the collection of practitioners' licensing fees, will
be able to retain more of the money it collects, she said.
Currently a significant portion of the sum is turned over to the
Oklahoma general revenue fund, but fewer licenses have been issued
in recent years due to a decline in the real estate market and more
money is needed by the commission to support its educational and
recovery programs, she noted.
Senate Bill 366 deals with joint tenancy of property and is
under review by the association's attorneys, O'Neill said.
A possible outcome of the measure would be to reverse the right
of survivorship of properties that have been homesteaded by husbands
and wives. In that regard, married couples might gain the right to
buy and sell real estate in their own names, she explained.
State certification of real estate appraisers is the thrust of
House Bill 2016, sponsored by Sullivan. It has the support of
appraisers and real estate agents throughout the state, because the
industry recognizes that if it does not regulate itself, the federal
government will, said Terry Van Tuyl, a principal in the firm of
Gray, Van Tuyl and Lawrence, real estate appraisers in Tulsa. …