Tax Credit Task Force Update
November 9, 2011
I hope you’re all surviving the crazy Oklahoma weather! I just wanted to give a quick update on the progress of the Tax Credit Task Force that has been meeting during the legislative interim. I’ve attend most of these meetings, and I’ve found them to be extremely informative and productive. Each meeting, several tax credits are closely examined. Presenters are invited to speak each meeting on why they believe a particular credit is helpful or hurtful to the Oklahoma economy. Most meetings have involved businesspeople speaking on a credit their business or corporation has received.
The meetings have been exactly what I’d hoped for – they place each credit under the microscope. In my opinion, great progress has been made. It seems the entire task force has come to the conclusion that transferability of tax credits should be ended completely. This is something I campaigned on, and it’s also something I continue to be passionate about. We have learned through these meetings just how abused and wasteful these credits can be when the transferability allows them to be sold as commodities on the open market.
Today marked the second to last meeting of this task force. They will meet for the final time on November 30th at 10:00 in the House Chamber at the Capitol. If you are able, I encourage you to attend the meeting. However, I will be sure to keep you informed of he task force’s final findings. I am attaching below Rep. David Dank’s press release from today’s meeting. Rep. Dank is the chairman of this task force, and he has done a wonderful job of asking those tough questions on this issue that we’ve needed to ask for years.
Tax Credits Task Force Proposes Recommendations
OKLAHOMA CITY - Members of the Task Force on State Tax Credits and Economic Incentives today discussed how to rein in ineffective and impractical tax credits.
The recommendations of the task force will be used to draft legislation setting up safeguards in how the Legislature creates tax credits.
“We are not against business. We don’t oppose growth,” said state Rep. David Dank, R-Oklahoma City, who chairs the task force. “We believe that government policy can help create jobs. We don’t think all credits or incentives are bad. What I think most of us believe after all we have heard here is that far too many tax credits and other incentives enacted in the past were created for the wrong reasons and in the wrong way.”
Dank said many of the current tax credits and incentives on the books were voted on “virtually in secret” and do not have adequate checks and balances.
“And as we know from reading the attorney general’s opinion, a number of them were and are constitutionally infirm, which is really another way of saying they were simply illegal,” Dank said. “The simple truth is that a few of these tax credits are like the huckster who took a bucket of manure, covered the top with an inch of honey and sold the whole thing as a full bucket of honey. It wasn’t until the sucker got home with it that he found out what he had actually bought.”
Recommendations proposed during the meeting included:
- extensively reviewing tax credits,
- ending the transferability of tax credits,
- sunsetting all tax credits,
- eliminating the practice of voting on tax incentives in the last days of session,
- making all credits and incentives subject to the Oklahoma Open Records Act,
- making job creation the only acceptable justification of a tax credit,
- examining alternative job creation solutions before turning to a tax incentive,
- annually auditing every tax credit,
- requiring caps and limits on all tax credits,
- scrutinizing entities receiving tax credits and incentives.
Please don’t ever hesitate to contact me if you have questions on this or any other issue. The deadline to file bills for the upcoming legislative session is quickly approaching, so send me your ideas and proposals soon! I’ll be sending another e-mail and writing another blog post in the next few weeks about the pieces of legislation I’m planning on proposing next session. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve you at the State Capitol!