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Oklahoma tornadoes: Gov. Mary Fallin signs disaster relief bill

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signs disaster relief bill and says she also will sign a measure that contains a package of tax breaks for tornado victims.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Published: May 25, 2013
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Gov. Mary Fallin signed a measure Friday that will provide $45 million to help reimburse local communities for expenses caused by this week's tornadoes.

She said she also will sign a bill that contains a package of tax relief measures to help tornado victims. Senate Bill 330 won approval Friday, the last day of this year's session, in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

“We know that thousands of Oklahomans have lost everything, including their homes and their vehicles,” said Sen. Anthony Sykes, R-Moore, author of SB 330. “Even with insurance, there can be a tremendous personal expense for replacing these things. This package of credits will help offset some of the cost for replacing homes and vehicles, and help businesses that were impacted.”

The tax relief measures include:

• A credit against the cost of motor vehicle registration for those replacing vehicles destroyed as a result of a tornado.

• Businesses that make donations from inventory to assist tornado victims may claim an exemption from the requirement to remit sales tax on donated inventory.

• Businesses affected by the tornado are protected from being penalized for a report filed late due to the storm.

• A credit for tornado victims who buy a replacement vehicle against the cost of motor vehicle excise tax.

• Homeowners who are victims of federally declared disasters can claim an income tax credit equal to the difference between ad valorem taxes before the tornado and taxes after the property is repaired or rebuilt.

The tax breaks would apply to those who lost vehicles or property in this week's tornadoes in Moore, Carney, the Shawnee area, Prague, Edmond and south Oklahoma City.

They also would apply to any other tornadoes that occur this year and result in a presidential major presidential disaster declaration.

SB 330 and SB 249 won unanimous support in both legislative chambers.

The bill signed Friday, SB 249, which takes effect immediately, transfers $45 million from the Rainy Day Fund, the state's savings account, into the state's emergency fund, which is administered by the Emergency Management Department. About $25 million will be used for matching money for local communities. The rest will be available to reimburse state agencies that were called in to assist with this week's tornadoes.

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