The Norman Transcript

Headlines

December 30, 2012

Treasurer warns of potential problems

NORMAN — In addition to higher federal taxes, Oklahomans face another threat to their pocketbooks from the fiscal cliff, State Treasurer Ken Miller said this week.

“Taxpayers in Oklahoma save an average of 25 to 30 percent on interest costs by using tax-exempt bonds as a financing tool as opposed to taxable bonds, but that could go away thanks to fiscal cliff negotiations,” Miller said.

Miller said investors accept lower interest rates due to the tax exemption and that saves billions of dollars per year in lower taxes nationwide.

“Tax-exempt bonds are the primary mechanism that states, counties, cities and school districts across the country use to finance highways, streets, bridges, water systems, school buildings and buses and many other public infrastructure projects,” he said.

Miller said this critical tool is now in danger of being eliminated as Congress and the President consider plans to either eliminate it or place a cap of 28 percent on the amount of interest bond investors can deduct from their taxable incomes.

“While fiscal sanity is sorely needed in Washington, shifting the tax burden from federal taxpayers to state and local taxpayers will not resolve the spending problem our country faces,” he said.

“A rough estimate shows that Oklahoma state government would have to spend an additional $30 million each year if the interest paid on its tax-exempt bonds were to become taxable,” Miller said. “For counties, municipalities and school districts, the cost would be much higher.”

The tax-exempt bonds issued by the counties, cities and school districts are retired using property taxes. If the tax-exemption is capped or eliminated, interest rates paid to the bondholders would rise and so could property taxes.

Miller said another alternative would be a reduction in the capital improvement projects funded by tax-exempt bonds or cuts in funding to core areas.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Headlines
  • Fracking Operation Norman library to host community dialogue about fracking

    Are Oklahoma oil companies an oligarchy that is controlling state policy? Is fracking safe? These and other topics will be the subject of an upcoming Fracking Forum from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Aug. 11 in the Norman Public Library’s Lowry Room, 225 ...

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Information scarce on ‘dark money’ group in Oklahoma superintendent campaign

    An independent expenditure group that paid for television advertisements opposing State Superintendent Janet Barresi in last month’s primary has not filed required spending reports with the Oklahoma Ethics Commission....

    July 24, 2014

  • Medical examiner says inmate died of an accidental drug overdose

    The Oklahoma Medical Examiner’s Office on Wednesday said a woman found dead in the Cleveland County jail Feb. 23 died of a drug overdose....

    July 24, 2014

  • Officials say transparency lacking in Wal-Mart zoning

    Norman city staff recently admitted to withholding information from the public regarding a controversial zoning change in southeast Norman. If approved by the city council, the proposal will allow a Wal-Mart supercenter at Cedar Lane and ...

    July 25, 2014

  • Air Algerie jet crashes with 116 on board

    OUAGADOUGO, Burkina Faso — An Air Algerie jetliner carrying 116 people crashed Thursday in a rainstorm over restive Mali, and its wreckage was found near the border of neighboring Burkina Faso — the third major international aviation ...

    July 25, 2014

  • Nonprofit raises $3.9M-plus for new center

    The Center for Children and Families, a United Way of Norman partner agency, announced Thursday that it exceeded its public fundraising goal of $3.5 million and raised more than $3.9 million to complete the purchase and renovation of a ...

    July 25, 2014

  • First Junior Police Academy graduates

    The room went dark and a slideshow flipped through photos of children participating in the first Junior Police Academy as kids chattered excitedly, remembering what they had done over the past two weeks. Norman Police Department hosted ...

    July 25, 2014

  • Very bad week: Airline disasters come in a cluster

    WASHINGTON — Nearly 300 passengers perish when their plane is shot out of the sky. Airlines suspend flights to Israel’s largest airport after rocket attacks. Two airliners crash during storms. Aviation has suffered one of its worst weeks ...

    July 25, 2014

  • Police log

    Police responded to the following incidents Wednesday: · 5:58 a.m. indecent exposure, 100 block of West Comanche Street · 6:08 a.m. burglary in progress, 100 block of West Hayes Street · 8:09 a.m. larceny report, 100 ...

    July 25, 2014

  • Felonies filed

    The following people were charged with felony counts in the Cleveland County Court Clerk’s Office: · Angela Beth Mendinghall, 36, unauthorized use of a vehicle; driving with a canceled, suspended or revoked license · Daniel ...

    July 25, 2014