By REP. JAMES LOCKHART
David Dank, a representative from Oklahoma City, is holding an interim study about tax credits. The goal of this study is to determine which tax credits are good policy and which ones are simply the result of good lobbying.
The state is losing money due to the open-ended and non-reporting practices of the tax credit program. Under the state’s transferable tax credit statute, a company that receives a transferable credit may turn around and sell the credit to receive up-front cash. One example is Rocketplane Global, which in 2003 was awarded an $18 million tax credit from the state. The company, designed to launch space tourism flights fromOklahoma, sold the credit to a bank and received $15 million in up-front cash for the deal. But the bank then had an $18 million credit to spend at its will.
I authored HB1066 which would strike a tax credit for the refund of excise taxes if a boat or motor is stolen within 90 days of purchase. I am not sure how this credit became law, but I am sure it does not produce jobs or provide economic growth. The first thought I had when I learned about this credit was isn’t that what insurance is for?
This past session I had the opportunity to co-author legislation with Rep. Dank that requires companies to disclose what they do with your tax dollars. For years Oklahoma companies that have received tax credits from the state have not had to disclose where or by whom the credit was used.
Oklahoma gives out over $5 billion in tax credits each year. Tax credits should not be doled out unless we are sure that credit is beneficial to our economy. Any time the state gives a tax credit, it should create jobs, stimulate the economy or provide some good for the state, and it needs to be documented.
There should be total transparency and total justification. Under the current system, tax credits could go for bonuses or to buy luxury items for company executives. Currently, we have no oversight at all. I expect tax credits to be a major agenda item in the upcoming session.
This Saturday, is a fundraiser for the Heavener Runestone, Thor’s Hammer is a cross country run starting at 9 a.m., check in is at 8 a.m. The winter season is a slow time for the park and they will need funds to operate the park through the winter. I hope to see you there.
I appreciate the opportunity to serve as your State Representative. If I can be of assistance please call me at home 918-653-7571 or at my office 405-557-7413 or by email [email protected] or you can find me on facebook.