Oklahoma lawmakers discuss ending tax credits for small businesses

BY JULIE BISBEE Published: May 4, 2010
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Oklahoma lawmakers are discussing eliminating two popular tax credit programs as a way to increase state revenue for the next budget year.

A bill to eliminate the Rural Small Business Capital Credit and the Small Business Capital Credit passed a Senate conference committee Monday.

The Rural Small Business Capital Credit offers an income tax credit for investing with large companies that aid rural businesses. The Small Business Capital Credit allows a credit for investing in small business ventures that may or may not be profitable.

Ending the pair of tax credits in Senate Bill 1590, by Sen. Mike Johnson, R-Kingfisher, would add about $31.5 million to state coffers. The state is facing a $1.2 billion hole as lawmakers work to draft the budget for the 2011 budget year, which begins July 1.

"These are difficult times and we’re going to have to vote on things that aren’t popular with legislators,” said Johnson, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. "We’ve got to figure out a way to get the gap closed.”

In his executive budget earlier this year, Gov. Brad Henry proposed eliminating the credits as a way to find additional money for state services. Johnson said the cash infusion would mean agency cuts would be 0.