Ag Sales Tax Exemption still very much in Play says OCA's Michael Kelsey in RON Legislative UpdateFri, 23 Feb 2018 15:27:11 CST
With three weeks now under our belt for the 2018 Oklahoma Legislative Session, Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays reached out to Michael Kelsey, executive vice president of the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association for an update on all he has observed during his regular visits to the State Capital. According to Kelsey, a lot is going on right now in both the House and Senate organizationally, with several ag-oriented bills taking shape in fray of things as well. You can listen to Kelsey’s complete legislative update, by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR at the bottom of the page.
“This week, probably the big news was the budget bills that the House and Senate passed and sent to the Governor,” Kesley said. “They’re currently on the Governor’s desk and she’ll deal with those next week. That will tie up the 2018 budget process.”
Once that is done, he says the process will start over for the 2019 Fiscal Year which begins July 1, 2018. Essentially, Kesley says the bills sent to the Governor are more or less budget cuts. With the failure of the Step Up proposal and the cigarette secession tax deemed unconstitutional, Kelsey says the bills will make a 2% cut to the budget for one quarter.
In the midst of this, several other things are going on complicating matters a bit. Leadership in both the House and Senate are in flux at the moment with a Speaker and Pro-Temp race currently underway. Plus, this coming week marks a deadline in which bills must come out of their committees or will otherwise die. The fact that committees did not meet during recent snow days means things are likely to jam up in a time crunch as policy makers race against the deadline. Kelsey says we will see the total number of existing bill drop dramatically by that deadline, effective March 1.
However, Kelsey continues to keep pulse on several issues that relate to the ag community right now, including a trailer tag bill, legislation that regulates drone traffic over private property, an ag hemp bill that explores the plant as a forage option for agriculture and a proposal on truck weights. Among those, Kelsey is also closely monitoring attempts to tap the ag sales tax exemption. He says a bill that has already been successfully thwarted would have allowed the exemption to eventually sunset. Again, Kesley says that matter has been put to bed but the threat still lingers.
“That just tells you what kind of environment we’re involved in here,” he said. “From a revenue standpoint, there are things on the table that we’re watching. Our ag sales tax exemption is still very, very much in play.”
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