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November 7, 2012

State votes ‘yes’ to all

NORMAN — Oklahoma voters handily passed all six state questions on this year’s ballot.

SQ 766:

One of the most hotly debated issues on the Oklahoma ballot, State Question 766 would exempts all intangible personal property from ad valorem taxation.

“I’m pleased with the outcome of the election on State Question 766,” said Norman Chamber of Commerce President John Woods. “I think it’s an indication that Oklahma supports our businesses and wants to make sure that job growth continues in the state.”

This measure exempts all intangible personal property from ad valorem property taxation. The value of intangible personal property is not derived from its physical attributes but rather from what it represents or evidences.

Norman Public Schools superintendent Joe Siano said 766 will cost school districts approximately $32 million, and 758 will cut $4 million out of the state’s income for education.

Intangible personal property, which is currently taxed but would not be if the measure is adopted, includes items such as:

· Patents, inventions, formulas, designs and trade secrets;

· Licenses, franchise and contracts;

· Land leases, mineral interests and insurance policies;

· Custom computer software; and

· Trademarks, trade names and brand names.

The measure will apply to property taxation, starting with the tax year that begins on Jan. 1.

SQ 758

Ad valorem will now be capped at 3 percent on homestead exempted property. The measure changes the limits on increases in fair cash value. The cap would also apply to agricultural land.

“You have to respect the voice of the people,” Siano said. “My concern isn’t with the merit of the taxes themselves but the impact they’ll have on public school revenue. I urge communities to ask their legislators to plan for the replacement of lost revenue now that these have passed.”

Though its impact is more long-term, State Question 758’s cap on annual property tax increases could foreseeably have a similarly damaging effect, as it, too will potentially limit the state’s already slim education budget.

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