Oklahoma Farm Bureau President Tom Buchanan Questions Changes in Property Tax to Solve States Budget WoesMon, 01 Feb 2016 21:30:07 CST
On Monday afternoon, Governor Mary Fallin talked about her priorities and discussed three areas that she believes deserves more budget money in the coming fiscal year, even as the state legislature faces a billion dollar shortrfall. In her 2016 State of the State message, she spent a lot of her time proposing ways to claim more revenue for the state to spend in the coming fiscal year. After the presentation, Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays talked with Oklahoma Farm Bureau President Tom Buchanan about the State of the State address- and Buchanan thanked the Governor for her willingness to discuss a variety of ways to deal with the budget crisis.
Buchanan also indicated that Farm Bureau members would be willing to do their part to help deal with the problems- but expressed concerns about the changes the Governor wants in how property taxes can be spent, and also worried about the disparity between rural and urban in how the Governor wants to address school consolidation.
You can hear Hays and Buchanan by clicking on the LISTEN BAR below.
Later in the afternoon, the Oklahoma Farm Bureau released the following statement attributed to Tom Buchanan in response to Gov. Mary Fallin’s proposal to allow for increases in property taxes to fund local schools.
“In the State of the State address today, Gov. Mary Fallin proposed changes in the manner ad valorem taxes are used for school districts.
“As landowners, Oklahoma’s farmers and ranchers know and understand that school district buildings belong to the patrons, or landowners, of the school district. Therefore, it is the patron’s responsibility to either build new buildings or maintain the existing buildings. The state’s current ad valorem, or property, tax process has served Oklahoma school districts well.
“When a school district proposes a bond issue, it identifies the purpose of the tax, the total cost of the tax, and how long the tax will be in place. This allows school district voters to make an educated decision on each individual issue.
“Oklahoma Farm Bureau is very supportive of the existing ad valorem tax system. We are concerned that changing the system to allow for ongoing budgetary expenses would drastically alter the historically successful system.
“Fallin also called for the consolidation of kindergarten through eighth grade dependent school districts, most of which are found in rural Oklahoma. We believe rural Oklahomans deserve the same rights to a quality education as those in urban areas.
“Although we understand sacrifices must be made in today’s fiscal climate, the burden should not be placed on rural Oklahomans.
“As always, we at OKFB are committed each and every day to protecting you from increased property taxes and reduced educational opportunities. We look forward to working with our state legislators to find a solution that serves all of Oklahoma.”
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