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Senate committee approves measures to help address budget shortfall

The Oklahoma Senate Joint Committee on Appropriations and Budget Thursday approved reforms that would generate approximately $190 million to help address the $1.3 billion budget shortfall. The measures approved by the committee reform various tax credits and incentive programs, generating new revenues for the state.

“The Senate has said all along that all responsible options are on the table. By approving these measures the Senate is showing its willingness to make tough decisions on reforming tax credits and incentives to help address the $1.3 billion shortfall,” said Sen. Clark Jolley, chairman of the committee.

“The goal isn’t to formulate a budget based on how much money we’d like to spend, as my Democratic colleagues lamented during the committee hearing. The goal is to know how much we have to spend and then adjust our spending priorities accordingly, like Oklahoma families and businesses do every day,” said Jolley, R-Edmond. “Passing these reform measures will bring in revenue to the state that helps us close the $1.3 billion budget shortfall and fund priorities like education, public safety, and health care services like SoonerCare, rural hospitals, mental health, as well as child welfare services and the Pinnacle Plan.”

The measures passed by the committee include:

SB 1579, which instructs the Oklahoma Tax Commission to step up enforcement efforts through the use of technologies to audit sales and use tax reporting. The reform is expected to generate approximately $35.8 million for the General Revenue Fund (GRF) and $2 million for the HB 1017 fund for education.
SB 1580, which modifies the amount of credits allocated annually for investment in affordable housing projects. The reform is expected to generate $900,000.
SB 1581, which limits the amount of tax credits for investment in clean-burning motor fuel equipment. The reform is expected to generate $5.773 million.
SB 1582, which limits tax credits for investment in depreciable property or net increase in employees. The reform is expected to generate $14.049 million.
HB 3204, which reduces a tax credit for railroad construction. The reform is expected to generate $136,000.
HB 3205, which would reduce the time period for filing a sales tax refund claim from three years to one year total. The reform is expected to generate $8.781 million.
HB 3206, which would authorize OMES to certify any funds remaining in the Cash Flow Reserve Fund in December as available for transfer and appropriation.

This measure would yield $125 million for the GRF.

Contact info
Sen. Jolley: (405) 521-5622