Bill Would Make New Telephone Line Optional for Some Rural Tag Agencies

Article excerpt

Requiring tag agents to use a state-mandated check verification system would be optional in counties with populations not exceeding 100,000 under a bill filed by Rep. David B. Braddock, D-Altus, who said a new law outlining the requirement works a hardship on rural tag agencies.

Braddock told the House Revenue and Taxation Committee that one tag agent in his district receives about three hot checks a year and finds the new system both costly and burdensome to administer. Tag agents must bear the cost of adding a telephone line and paying monthly charges for the system, while the Oklahoma Tax Commission purchased the check verification machines and pays the firm that operates the system.

In rural areas, Braddock said, tag agents tend to know their customers and can generally collect on bad checks themselves. "In rural Oklahoma this is very oppressive on our tag agents." Braddock added, however, that he understands the situation may be different in metropolitan areas, so he limited the bill's permissive language only to smaller counties. He said the measure would make the new system mandatory in only three or four counties. "It's kind of a universal concern, but in rural counties, I think it should be optional," he said. Tony Mastin, director of the tax commission policy and research division, said the commission's concerns are chiefly two-fold. He said the commission receives about 1,500 hot checks by the agency each year, totaling about $400,000. …

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