KGOU

sales tax

Mayor David Holt makes his first State of the City address Thursday at the Cox Convention Center in downtown Oklahoma City.
Mark Hancock / Journal Record

In this week's episode of the Business Intelligence Report, Journal Record editor Russell Ray discusses Oklahoma City Major David Holt's idea for future MAPS sales taxes, and some of the citizen-submitted suggestions for MAPS 4, including a tourism-level aquarium.

Wikimedia Commons

On Wednesday a U.S. Supreme Court decision reversed a 1992 precedent that said businesses were only required to pay sales tax if they had a physical presence in the state. It was welcome news for Oklahoma, which has been trying for years to force online companies to pay sales tax., which made up 31 percent of state revenue in 2017.

 

Service technician Tyler Pabst demonstrates the servicing of a geothermal unit in Norman Wednesday.
Emmy Verdin / Journal Record

The end of a federal tax credit for homeowners who install Energy Star geothermal pumps has driven down business for Oklahoma companies that install the equipment.

Comfortworks, Inc. has seen a decline in business between 20 to 30 percent since the credit ended in 2016. Chris Ellis, vice president for Comfortworks, Inc., told the Journal Record’s Kateleigh Mills that his company has begun to focus more on commercial sales since the residential credit ended.

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin at her 2017 State of the State address on Feb. 6, 2017.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

 

Coming into Mary Fallin’s 7th state of the state address as governor of Oklahoma, there was one big question: How will the state deal with another revenue shortfall, and not cut funding to agencies that provide services. The state faces an estimated $870  million budget gap in the upcoming fiscal year. That comes after clawing out a 1.3 billion dollar deficit last year.

Fallin hinted last week she would present a series of changes to the sales tax system. On Tuesday, she outlined her plan.

Oklahoma Capitol
ensign_beedrill / Flickr Creative Commons

Online retail giant Amazon could soon start charging sales taxes to Oklahoma customers – a move that would help fill a sizable state budget shortfall for next fiscal year, Oklahoma Watch has learned.

An Oklahoma Tax Commission official said the agency is in discussions with online retailers to voluntarily collect sales and use taxes, and two state legislators said they expect agreements could be struck in coming weeks or months with Amazon, the country’s largest e-commerce site.

Road construction continues on NW 164th Street between May and Portland avenues in Oklahoma City.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

Oklahoma City is preparing for midyear budget cuts because of low sales tax revenue.

Mayor Mick Cornett and city councilmembers had been hoping for growth in the sales tax, but revenue to the city is down 4 percent.

Weak consumer spending means the city will have to cut back on its own spending by about $10 million halfway through the fiscal year.

Jacob McCleland / KGOU

The state question that proposes raising Oklahoma’s sales tax one percent to pay for $5,000 raises for teachers could cause issues for city governments that also rely on sales taxes to pay for streets, fire stations, and other municipal projects.

Two University of Oklahoma economists – Cynthia Rogers and Gregory Burge – looked to past sales tax increases to see how municipalities were affected. They analyzed the impact of four previous Oklahoma state sales tax increases (in 1984, 1984, 1987 and 1990) on the timing of municipal sales tax rate changes.

SandRidge Energy headquarters in Oklahoma City.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

It’s been a rocky year for Oklahoma City’s SandRidge Energy.

The company started 2016 learning it would be delisted from the New York Stock Exchange, and had to shut down many oil and gas wells in northwest Oklahoma due to seismic directives by the Corporation Commission.

empty classroom
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Updated May 18, 5:20 p.m.

Two bills regarding a teacher pay raise in the Oklahoma House were apparently a mistake. The Tulsa World’s Randy Krehbiel reported the bills were not intended to be added to Tuesday’s Appropriations and Budget Committee agenda.

Tulsa resident Ashley Hacker exits a polling place after casting his vote on a sales tax extension proposal Tuesday.
Rip Stell / The Journal Record

Voters across Oklahoma went to the polls on Tuesday for mostly local elections, including a series of sales tax initiatives in both northeast and central Oklahoma.

In the city of Tulsa, voters approved three separate tax propositions totaling 0.55 percent. They deal with public safety, infrastructure, and capital projects as part of the Vision 2025 program first approved in 2003.

“The tax rate will not go up in Tulsa,” said The Journal Record’s managing editor Adam Brooks. “It’s just extending what they already have and will stay at 8.517 percent.”

money
Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

The National Rifle Association is exempt from the sales tax in Oklahoma. The American Civil Liberties Union is not.

Organizations promoting the preservation of wild ducks and turkeys get a sales tax break. Groups promoting different wildlife, or the welfare of dogs and cats, do not.

Oklahoma chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution have a specific sales tax exemption. The League of Women Voters of Oklahoma does not.

University of Oklahoma president David Boren signs a petition February 16, 2016 for a one cent sales tax proposal to fund education.
Emily Wendler / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

The 90-day window for supporters to gather more than 120,000 signatures in support of a sales tax increase for education officially opened Tuesday.

University of Oklahoma president David Boren is leading the drive to put the one cent sales tax on the ballot in November.

“Let the people decide what kind of state that we’re going to have for the future, what kind of state we’re going to have now,” Boren said during Tuesday’s press conference launching the petition.

backpacks
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Four stories that were trending or generated discussion online or on KGOU’s social media platforms during the past week.

Jason McMullen teaching a math class at Har-ber High School in Springdale, Arkansas.
Emily Wendler / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

Jason McMullen taught in Oklahoma for 12 years before he finally decided to move to Arkansas. When he left, his salary was $41,000. His wife was a teacher too, and earned less.  

"It just got to a point where it’s hard to buy a house," McMullen said. "It’s hard to pay bills, it’s hard to raise kids."

After all their bills were paid each month, McMullen says he and his wife had about $250 left for groceries and other living expenses.

"I just could not financially afford to stay any longer," McMullen said.

Once In Place, Sales Tax Breaks Nearly Impossible To Touch

Dec 12, 2015
money
Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

Buried deep in the Oklahoma tax code is a sales tax exemption for railroad spikes. Once it got hammered into place, it never budged.

The tax break was created in 1993 for the benefit of one spike manufacturer, Wellington Industries, so it would relocate from Texas to Sand Springs. Tax code reformers later targeted it for review, but it survived. Oklahoma Tax Commission officials said they weren’t able to calculate how much it costs the state today.

Penny Hike Would Make Oklahoma Number 1 In Sales Taxes

Oct 31, 2015
Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

A proposed penny sales tax increase for education would push Oklahoma to the top of list of states with the highest combined state and local sales taxes, according to data from a national research group.

It also would elevate Tulsa and Oklahoma City to No. 3 and No. 4, respectively, among major cities with the highest combined sales taxes, trailing only Chicago and Seattle, the Tax Foundation said.

Oklahoma Watch Executive Editor David Fritze, House Minority Leader Scott Inman (D-Del City) and House Speaker Jeff Hickman (R-Fairview) during an Oct. 20, 2015 panel discussion in Oklahoma City.
Patrick Roberts / KGOU

House Speaker Jeff Hickman says he expects next year's state budget gap to be even higher than the $611 million shortfall lawmakers faced when crafting the spending plan for fiscal year 2016.

The Republican from Fairview expects it could be as high as $700-800 million.

University of Oklahoma President David Boren is proposing a statewide sales tax for education.
Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

University of Oklahoma President David Boren’s proposed penny sales tax for education reflects a fundamental shift in the way the state is paying for public schools, higher education and other services.

Economists interviewed by Oklahoma Watch expressed concern about reducing the state’s reliance on income taxes and increasing its dependence on sales taxes to finance essential state functions.

Education Sales Tax Used In Other States

Oct 4, 2015

Several states have proposed or approved sales tax increases to support education similar to a proposal in the works in Oklahoma, and the results have varied.

In some cases, the sales tax hikes have remained in place for years, expanding or preserving education spending. In another case, a tax hike was repealed by voters, and a second tax ran into legal trouble.

Iowa, Arizona, Idaho, Florida and Georgia are among the states that implemented sales tax increases similar to the one proposed by University of Oklahoma President David Boren.

Oklahoma 12-Month Gross Receipts September 2014
Office of the State Treasurer

 

In a report from the Office of the State Treasurer, revenue collections during September grew by more than 8 percent over receipts from the same month of the prior year, the highest monthly growth rate since April of last year.  State Treasurer Ken Miller announced the revenue increases today as he released the September Gross Receipts to the Treasury report during a State Capitol news conference.

Pages