Claremore Daily Progress

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April 26, 2013

Chamber opposes 1-cent tax renewal

Board asks commmissioners to reconsider the road tax



The new rate would fall below other area municipalities including Owasso at a rate of 8.35 percent and Tulsa at a rate of 8.517 percent. 
Redirect Revenue
The chamber requests a percentage of tax be used to pay off the Material Services lawsuit settlement in a shorter amount of time, taking into account the new third-penny sales tax or adding to it “a commitment to work with City of Claremore, using county road tax funds, to address critical road projects inside the city limits.” 
The chamber’s position acknowledges all county residents, school districts, fire and safety agencies and businesses have benefitted from previous road tax revenues since the tax was first passed in 1988.  
The tax has been renewed four times in five-year increments and is set to expire in October 2.
“The result of this tax investment by Rogers County citizens has been quality rural roads throughout the county,” according to the board. 
In addition to the county 1-cent tax, Rogers County receives tax revenues from the state of Oklahoma through T-Highway funds.
Additional State Funds
The Oklahoma Legislature on April 10 approved HB1080 which will redirect  5 percent or approximately $37 million of motor vehicle collections to fund county road and bridge improvements.
These funds will increase the amount of T-Highway or road funds received by all county governments  based on the mileage of “major collector” roads.
The chamber is concerned about the court-mandated tax liability and the subsequent one-third penny tax increase imposed last year on businesses and shoppers. Voters selected the option in June 2012 to implement the sales tax to avoid a drastic increase in property taxes. 
The sales tax gave taxpayers the ability to spread the burden of the judgment in excess of $30 million over more than 15 years versus the proposed property tax increase that would have had to be completed in approximately three years creating the possibility of severe hardship for residents.

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