How many would step up and seek to get a steeper tax bill on their property, especially if it is worth an estimated $750 million? The House Joint Committee on Appropriations and Budget on Wednesday approved House Bill 2311, which would allow a county assessor to use the actual and indirect construction costs instead of the building's fair market value. The way the bill is written, it applies only to the Devon Energy Center in downtown Oklahoma City: It is worth more than $500 million and is in a tax increment finance district. Rep. Tom Newell, R-Seminole, said the Oklahoma County assessor's office told him Larry Nichols, co-founder and executive chairman of Devon, agreed to pay a certain amount of taxes on the 50-story building. Fair market value, which the assessor uses to determine property taxes, was below that amount, Newell said. HB 2311 states the owner of the asset may provide the county assessor with documents to determine fair cash value. HB 2311 passed 14-6 and goes to the House Calendar Committee.
MICHAEL MCNUTT, CAPITOL BUREAU