The Norman Transcript

Local news

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
Local news
  • Body 1 Police identify woman found dead Monday

    Norman police have identified a woman found dead in her home at 2202 Donna Drive Monday afternoon. Police responded at 1:25 p.m. to the residence of Cassandra Thompson, 30, after receiving a report that she had not shown up for work ...

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Residents speak out about document regarding shelter photos

    Norman and metro-area residents showed up in overwhelming numbers, many in red shirts, for an Animal Shelter Oversight Board meeting Monday night demanding for their opinions to be heard....

    July 29, 2014

  • Mixon’s attorney says athlete acted in self-defense

    The attorney for Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon says the incident that left a 20-year-old female OU student with multiple facial fractures was a case of self-defense. “This past Friday morning, Joe Mixon found himself in a situation ...

    July 29, 2014

  • County moves forward on nursing home bonds

    Cleveland County commissioners on Monday approved a resolution authoring a county trust to issue up to $15 million for a nursing home on the site of the former Whispering Pines nursing home at 501 E. Robinson St....

    July 29, 2014

  • Breast Care Center will relocate to HealthPlex

    The Norman Regional Health System will move its Breast Care Center to the HealthPlex campus, making it more accessible for patients, hospital officials said Monday. At its monthly board meeting, the Norman Regional Hospital Authority ...

    July 29, 2014

  • Little Axe Health Center hosting blood drive

    Norman-area blood donors this summer will not only save lives when they donate with Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI), they’ll also get “Feel Cool” T-shirts and two tickets to the Oklahoma City Zoo....

    July 29, 2014

  • Woman arrested for allegedly bringing gun into courthouse

    Cleveland County sheriff’s deputies arrested a Norman woman Friday after she allegedly brought a loaded handgun to the Cleveland County Courthouse. Cynthia Bodnar, 52, of Norman, entered the courthouse through the east entrance shortly ...

    July 29, 2014

  • Man in critical condition after being pinned in wreck

    A Norman man remained in critical condition Monday after a single-vehicle wreck around 10:15 p.m. Sunday at 1100 80th Ave. SE. Norman police believe Justin Davis, 33, was intoxicated when he got tangled in his vehicle and pinned....

    July 29, 2014

  • Teen dies after drowning incident

    After rescue attempts by Good Samaritans and medical crews, Oklahoma Highway Patrol confirmed that a Yukon teen died at 5:50 a.m. Monday after a drowning incident Sunday at Lake Thunderbird....

    July 29, 2014

  • Police log

    Police responded to the following incidents Sunday: · 12:07 a.m. vandalism, 700 block of Asp Avenue · 1:29 a.m. larceny report, 300 block of North Interstate Drive East · 2:50 a.m. larceny report, 300 block of North ...

    July 29, 2014