House Speaker T.W. Shannon, author of HB 2032, didn't seem flustered by the changes, but said it was a travesty that the Senate insisted on delaying the income tax cut until Jan. 1, 2015, a year later than he and Fallin proposed.
“That's a fundamental step in the wrong direction,” said Shannon, R-Lawton. “We need to provide tax relief now, not delay it another year and that would be a travesty at this point.”
Bingman said he expected more changes are likely for the bill, which after being approved 8-2 by the Senate Finance Committee is headed to the Senate and then to the House.
“We intend to have at the end of the year a tax cut for taxpayers in Oklahoma,” he said.
Bingman said the state could better afford the tax cut in the 2016 fiscal year, which begins July 1, 2015. To help the state get through a significant budget shortfall three years ago, oil companies agreed to have the state suspend for two years a rebate program on oil produced through certain more expensive drilling methods. The agreement called for the state to pay back the oil companies over three years; the last of annual $96 million payments to the oil companies would occur in June 2015.
“That revenue would be available and help absorb (the cost),” he said.
HB 2032 calls for eliminating the ability of those receiving economic credits for coal mining, wind power, rehabilitating historic buildings, energy-efficient construction and railroad modernization to sell them. They would be allowed to get a refund of 80 cents on the dollars on the tax credits they couldn't use.
When companies receive more credits than they owe in state taxes, they use the transferability feature, which allows them to sell their surplus credits to other corporations or individuals, usually for about 80 cents on the dollar.
The buyers use the credits to reduce their own tax bills.
This is a work in progress. This just keeps our discussion going.”
Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman,