Joint Committee Approves Measures for Estimated $27.9M Revenue Increase

Apr 18, 2017

Credit OETA

The Oklahoma legislature's Joint Committee on Appropriations and Budget passed five measures at its first meeting Monday afternoon.

Altogether, they represent an estimated $27.9 million increase in state revenue, or 3 percent of the $878 million budget hole.

A proposal to scale back Oklahoma’s film tax incentive was among the measures. House Bill 2344 caps annual payments of the rebate at $4 million rather than $5 million. Oklahoma Secretary of Commerce and Tourism Deby Snodgrass said the incentive review commission wanted to eliminate the rebate.

"The committee, of which I am actually an ex officio member, recommended that the program — it's a rebate, not a credit — stay in place until its sunset date," Snodgrass said.

The incentive is set to sunset in 2024.

Permit fees for coin-operated vending machines could double under House Bill 2345, which is anticipated to bring in an additional $3.5 million for the general revenue fund. Rep. Jon Echols said it should take just a simple majority to pass, not a three-fourths supermajority required for revenue-raising measures.

"The reason I think it would only require 51 is we've never taken the position — and neither has the Oklahoma Supreme Court in the history since that's been passed — that any fee increases qualify under that," Echols said.

Tickets to see the Drillers, Roughnecks, Thunder or other pro sports team in Oklahoma could get more expensive this summer.

State lawmakers are considering a bill to eliminate sales tax exemptions on those tickets. Rep. Leslie Osborn said other forms of entertainment aren’t exempt.

"If you go to a concert and go see Faith Hill and Tim McGraw next week or in the next two weeks, you would be paying a sales tax," Osborn said. "If you go to see a movie this weekend, you will be paying a sales tax."

The exemptions were initially crafted to lure professional teams to Oklahoma. Eliminating the exemptions could bring in $1.8 million a year. If House Bill 2350 passes, the change would currently happen July 1.