A bill to eliminate Oklahoma’s corporate franchise tax was gutted Wednesday by the House Appropriations and Budget Committee.
The committee voted 16-2 to strike wording in the bill that would eliminate the franchise tax. The committee replaced the original wording with language that would extend by 15 days the time period for paying franchise taxes before penalties apply. Sept. 15 is the new deadline.
House author Rep. Earl Sears, R-Bartlesville, was peppered with questions from other House members who wanted assurances that Sears wasn’t just trying to get the bill to the House floor so it could be amended again to eliminate the franchise tax.
“I can assure you that elimination of the franchise tax by Earl Sears in this bill will not happen,” Sears said. “I can’t tell you that someone else in another chamber may (not) do something silly, but it will not be by me or this bill.”
Sears said after the meeting that he has heard the Senate is still discussing eliminating the franchise tax.
“I’ve heard some issues over in the Senate about franchise tax,” Sears said. “I don’t have a clue or (know) anything about it.”
A moratorium on the levy of the franchise tax was enacted for the period from July 1, 2010, through June 30, 2013. Eliminating the tax would be expected to cost the state about $40.1 million in revenue for fiscal year 2015, according to a fiscal impact statement prepared by a House staff member.
In other action Wednesday, the House Appropriations and Budget Committee passed a half dozen bills that would eliminate several types of tax credits in 2017 unless they are brought up again and renewed before their sunset dates. Tax credits for the banking industry, employers with injured employees, child care providers and electronic fund transfers were among those covered by the sunset provisions.
However, the committee voted 19-4 to reject a similar sunset bill that would have eliminated tax credits for aircraft manufacturing and maintenance facilities in 2017 unless the credits were extended before the deadline. Lawmakers said they didn’t want to take any action that might cause American Airlines to move its Tulsa maintenance facility.
The committee also voted to extend a tax credit for aerospace companies and aerospace engineers until 2018.
The bills that passed will now go to the full House for consideration.