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In addition to making cuts to state agencies and using nearly $1 billion in cash, savings and federal stimulus funds, the 2011 fiscal year budget package depends on several proposals to generate new revenue to help make up a $1.2 billion shortfall. The proposals are projected to raise about $180 million. They include:
• Expanding the state’s vehicle insurance verification program by using cameras mounted on state highways to record and ticket motorists driving without insurance. The idea is expected to raise about $50 million. The Public Safety Department is seeking proposals on the idea, but the system likely would involve cameras taking pictures of vehicle tag numbers. The computerized system will check the tag against a national database; if it’s determined the vehicle is not insured, a citation will be generated and issued to the vehicle’s owner. The system would not keep tag information on motorists who have vehicile insurance, state Treausrer Scott Meacham said.
• Develop a procedure to collect sales tax on Internet and catalog sales not currently being collected. Out-of-state businesses without a store or building in the state are not collecting sales taxes on sales made over the Internet, telephone or via mail order. Oklahomans are supposed to calculate the amount of state sales tax owed on such orders and pay the tax when filing their income tax returns. The state will spend money to make taxpayers aware that they owe the tax, and will work with merchants to point out the total does not include sales tax that is owed the state. It’s expected efforts would produce about $36 million.
• A new 1 percent fee insurance companies will pay on health care claims, which is expected to generate $78 million. The insurance fee will be used to stabilize the state’s Medicaid program. Money will be placed into an account with the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, which manages the state’s Medicaid program. The money should be matched 3-1 with federal funds.