Farm Bureau's LeAnna McNally Gives Legislative Update on State's Ad Valorem Tax Issue and MoreFri, 07 Apr 2017 15:37:03 CDT
As we pass the halfway mark on this year’s legislative session here in Oklahoma, Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays, brought LeAnna McNally of Oklahoma Farm Bureau in studio, to get an update on the policy issues her organization has been monitoring, as they play defense for their members stretching across rural Oklahoma. According to her, there have been a few pieces of legislation come through that has warranted tracking, but one bill in particular, HB1374, has certainly caught their attention.
“That bill really concerns our members,” McNally asserts. “It allows ad valorem taxes to be utilized by municipalities by a vote of the folks living in the city limits.”
Now, while there is an exemption for agriculture included, McNally warns voters not to be fooled. This bill changes up the rules of the game, allowing a rate hike to occur by a simple majority vote. This has never been done in Oklahoma. Advantage has always been given to landowners in ad valorem votes because simply put, it is the landowners who typically pay out the most in these taxes. McNally says she would imagine that even urban legislators would take issue with this, especially ones representing districts that are home to residential areas where the citizens may not be able to afford a sudden increase in their taxes. She begs the question, that if this bill is passed into law, then what doors would that open in turn?
“It’s that idea of the camel’s nose under the tent when we talk about municipalities having access to those ad valorem taxes,” she said, “when they have several sources of revenue currently.”
McNally adds that OFB members are concerned that the resources already funding cities are not being managed properly. She says that while sales tax income may not be the most stable resource, it should still be able to adequately fund municipal expenses with a little planning and forethought. Questions are also arising as to why some cities are not taking advantage of other alternative revenue streams such as internet sales tax, which if untapped, is basically leaving large sums on the table.
McNally will join Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays for his weekly In the Field segment on KWTV News9 in the Oklahoma City area on Saturday morning at 6:40 a.m. to discuss this issue and others, such as authorizing nurse practitioners to perform more medical services in rural areas, the state budget deficit and more.
In the meantime, listen to Hays and McNally, on their off-camera interview by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below.
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