Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Legislative Conferees at Odds over Millage Provision

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Legislative Conferees at Odds over Millage Provision

Article excerpt

lawmakers for thwarting the progress of an education conference committee gained full Senate approval on Thursday by a 40-4 vote.

Sources said House and Senate conferees are at odds over a provision of House Joint Resolution 1005 that would allow school districts to keep five mills of ad valorem, or property, tax revenue for a local building fund.

The five mills would encompass ad valorem tax revenues on corporate and utility property valued at more than $500,000, which the resolution seeks to have distributed equally through the state education aid formula.

Ad valorem millage for an additional 39 mills in a district would be distributed equally through the state education aid formula.

The Senate version of the resolution passed Thursday is written that way.

However, some of the House members of a joint education conference committee are said to oppose allowing school districts to have the five mill building fund apply to ad valorem revenue from the "over $500,000" property. Instead, it would apply only to the revenue under $500,000, which they are allowed to keep.

House Joint Resolution 1005, which would submit three education questions to a statewide vote, is a companion measure to House Bill 1017, a common education reform bill that includes a $230 million tax increase.

House Bill 1017 is pending in the 22-member conference committee, which has failed repeatedly to reach agreement and sign off on the bill so the Legislature can consider it.

Hopes were dashed again early Thursday as the regular Senate Education Committee began deliberating on the joint resolution. Proceedings had barely started when the committee abruptly recessed, and Sens. Bernice Shedrick and Pres. Pro Tempore Robert Cullison left the room.

Cullison, D-Skiatook, is the co-author of House Bill 1017. Shedrick, D-Stillwater, is education committee chairman.

The committee later reassembled and passed the resolution, clearing the way for full Senate consideration during the afternoon.

The Senate and House each convened at 10 a.m., recessed until 1:30 p.m., and ultimately recessed until Monday at 1:30 p.m.

House conferees are expected to meet Monday morning prior to the session.

Also Thursday afternoon, House Speaker Steve Lewis, D-Shawnee, and the co-author of House Bill 1017, distributed copies to members and explained the bill in an open meeting following the session.

If enough House members oppose House Joint Resolution 1005, they could vote to reject the Senate amendments and the measure would go to a separate conference committee. …

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