A foothold was gained in the legislative fight to allow counties to vote on the taxation of aggregate materials. Rep. Charles McCall's (R-Atoka) House Bill 1876 passed through the House Subcommittee on revenue and taxations and will go before the House Appropriations and Budget Committee. McCall said he expects the bill to go before the committee next week but noted it is the first step in what is expected to be an uphill fight.
"This is far from a done deal," McCall said. "I think the major victory today is in the fact people in the house are becoming educated that we have renewable resources being removed from counties with no financial benefit being realized. Whether this is successful and makes it through this session or not, I feel we made a big step today in garnering support. We know this has been an issue for some time."
Revenue gained through taxation would be used for infrastructure improvements within the counties.
The issue at hand for Johnston County and similar counties is the amount of aggregate materials being removed from the state and being sold in other states, which collect the sales tax. The mining industry is at a disadvantage compared to oil and gas in terms of counties being compensated.
Sen. Frank Simpson (R-Ardmore) had a similar bill fail to pass through committee and agrees with McCall that it will be an uphill fight.
"It will be a tough fight in the Senate if we get it out of the house," Simpson said. "I think our two bills are pretty much mirror images of each other. There may be some small differences but the bills are pretty much the same."
McCall also had two other bills pass through the sub-committee.
House Bill 1874 would allow the Oklahoma Tax Commission to collect lodging taxes for cities rather than make the cities responsible for collection. House Bill 1875 would reduce the fee the Oklahoma Tax Commission collects from cities and counties to collect taxes which would increase the amount of revenue cities and counties retain.