Dorman Calls Proposal “Wrong Direction for Oklahoma When a Better Path Exists”; Calls on Fallin to Reverse Course in State of the State on Monday
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK— Earlier this week, Mary Fallin proposed the largest property tax increase in the state’s history as an alternative to the already proposed school storm shelter plan, HRJ1078, introduced by Rep. Joe Dorman (D-Rush Springs) on January 15. Rep. Dorman, the Democratic candidate for Governor, called on Fallin to reverse her call for increased property taxes in her State of the State on Monday, and instead endorse his plan for school storm shelters.
“Raising property taxes on home owners, small businesses, and farmers and ranchers to pay for storm shelters is the wrong move for Oklahoma when a better path already exists,” Rep. Dorman said.
“I’m glad to see Mary Fallin at least recognizing the need for some action by the state to protect our kids from dangerous storms, but this is the wrong way to do it,” Rep. Dorman continued. “Raising property taxes on first time home owners, the elderly on fixed incomes, farmers and ranchers and small business owners just because she doesn’t want multi-million dollar companies to pay an already existing tax is just bad policy. We can protect our kids and pay for it in a way that doesn’t hurt middle-class Oklahoma families.”
The Fallin proposal, introduced in the Oklahoma Legislature as HJR1092, would amend the Oklahoma Constitution to raise the current ceiling on property tax milleges in Oklahoma, allowing for a significant increase in property taxes for all landowners, homeowners and business owners in the state. Under her proposal, local millages would be raised to allow local school districts the option to vote on bonds to fund the construction of storm shelters using a dramatic increase in local property taxes as the funding mechanism for the bonds, providing for millions of dollars in tax increases. Fallin’s tax increase proposal was put forward as an alternative to Rep. Dorman’s own proposal for the state of Oklahoma to issue bonds paid for with the already existing state franchise tax.
“My proposal stands in stark contrast to the one being pushed by Mary Fallin,” Rep. Dorman said. “The plan that I have proposed doesn’t create new taxes on Oklahomans, doesn’t raise any taxes on Oklahomans, and doesn’t cut one dime of program spending in Oklahoma. In fact, the vast majority of the companies that owe the maximum rate under the existing franchise tax used in my plan would actually end up paying less than they would under Fallin’s plan to levy new increased property taxes. My plan protects our kids and at the same time doesn’t levy new taxes on our citizens and businesses. “
Even though Rep. Dorman opposes Fallin’s plan to raise property taxes, he said he is at least encouraged that she has finally recognized the need to act to protect children from dangerous storms, but is disappointed that this is the best she could do eight months after the EF5 tornado in Moore caused the death of seven children at Plaza Towers Elementary School.
“Mary Fallin is finally recognizing the need to do something to help provide storm shelters for our schools. That is a change from where she was earlier and that’s a good thing,” Rep. Dorman said. “I am disappointed however that she wants to raise taxes to do it when my plan doesn’t raise taxes, doesn’t create new taxes, and doesn’t cut spending. I’m especially discouraged that the tax she wants to raise is the property tax, the one tax you pay whether you are making money or not. Mary Fallin wants to repeal the franchise tax and not use it to help kids but is in favor of placing more burdens on senior citizens, young homeowners, businesses, and farmers and ranchers. That’s not good policy and I can only hope she will see the light on taxes the same way she has apparently changed her opinion about helping schools build storm shelters.”