OKLAHOMA CITY - State Senator Jeff Rabon (D-Hugo) is introducing legislation giving sales tax credits to companies or individuals that develop tourism projects.
"The idea is simple and more importantly successful," said Senator Rabon. "Qualifying companies or individuals would be able to receive back a large portion of their sales taxes just for developing tourism. It's the same principle used by the Quality Jobs Act which pays companies a portion of its payroll in return for expansion or new hires."
Rabon's bill, would only apply to tourism development projects costing $500,000 to $1 million. Project developers may receive a credit against the increased sales tax liability resulting from the project of 10 percent of the project's cost.
A project costing $1 million may receive a credit of 25 percent of the project's cost. These credits would be available for a 10-year period, but could be extended two years under certain conditions. The Department of Tourism and Recreation and the Oklahoma Tax Commission would be charged with administering the tax credit program.
"Qualifying projects would be required to attract at least 25 percent of their visitors from out-of-state," said Senator Rabon. "It's important that this sales tax credit result in a greater attraction of out-of-state tourists to Oklahoma."
Representative Randall Erwin (D-Nashoba) will sponsor the bill in the State House. He believes the measure will create a "win-win situation" for Oklahoma.
"This tax credit initiative costs the state nothing, yet has the potential to bring in millions more in tourism dollars," said Representative Erwin. "It doesn't show favor to one portion of the state over another. All of Oklahoma will have opportunity to reap the benefits of this tax credit proposal."
"Tourism means big business for our state," added Senator Rabon. "However, that is no reason to think that tourism can not become an even greater contributor to our economy. We must give our tourism officials every available tool to maximize our tourism efforts."
- 30 -