Court ruling could affect Oklahoma's budget, lawmaker says

A House member says the ruling that a capital-gains tax deduction for Oklahoma-based companies is unconstitutional could cost the state millions of dollars.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Published: April 30, 2013
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A lawmaker said Monday the state could be on the hook for as much as $400 million because of a court ruling earlier this year that said a capital-gains tax deduction for Oklahoma-based companies is unconstitutional.

But a state finance spokesman said any adverse effects from the ruling should not affect the 2014 fiscal year budget, which begins July 1.

Rep. Mike Reynolds told lawmakers on the House of Representatives floor that they should be concerned about the effect that amount of payout would have on the legislatively appropriated $7 billion budget for the 2014 fiscal year.

“I find it disturbing that the leadership hasn't bothered to inform the members of the House of Representatives other than apparently a select few on the leadership team about this $400 million problem,” said Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City. “In my 11 years here I've seen them have massive heartburn over a $5 million or $10 million or $15 million problem and we're talking $400 million.”

The Oklahoma Tax Commission is appealing the Jan. 17 ruling by the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals. Because of the appeal, agency officials can't comment on the case, a Tax Commission spokeswoman said.

John Estes, a spokesman for the state Office of Management and Enterprise Services, which compiles budget figures for the governor, said, “It's something we've been monitoring closely, but at this time we don't anticipate it causing complications for next year's budget.”

Joe Griffin, spokesman for House Speaker T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton, said House leadership is working with the Tax Commission, the governor's office and the Senate.

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