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Oklahoma Schools To Lose $40 Million In Tax Exemption

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The Oklahoma Tax Commission says Oklahoma public schools stand to lose about $40 million this year because of new tax exemptions that have primarily benefited telecommunications companies, utilities and railroads.

Passed by Oklahoma voters in 2012, State Question 766 extended the intangible property tax exemption that locally assessed companies enjoyed previously to centrally assessed corporations.

The Tulsa World reports that of the 254 centrally assessed corporations who could have qualified, 97 submitted exemption claims and 69 of those had their claims recognized.

Estimates of the impact State Question 766 would have on 2014 property tax collections have varied wildly, from $12 million to $50 million or $60 million and, in worst-case scenarios, about $100 million. A legislative analysis that estimated the fiscal year 2014 impact at $50.1 million was the most commonly cited during the 2012 campaign season, which included well-organized support for SQ 766 by a State Chamber of Commerce-organized coalition led by Gov. Mary Fallin.

Paula Ross, communications director for the tax commission, says revenue from those centrally assessed properties account for a significant portion of property tax revenue that benefits public schools and local governments, with 67.1 percent flowing to schools.


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