The Norman Transcript

Opinion

August 17, 2013

Schools and sales tax

NORMAN — Different governmental functions seem to have carved out their own small piece of the revenue stream. The federal government attaches taxes to income and the state government taxes income, retail sales, car tags, oil production and other areas.

Cities in Oklahoma are driven mostly by sales taxes. Counties are primarily property taxes and some sales taxes. (Cleveland County has a temporary sales tax for the jail). Schools are supported by state revenue and local property taxes.

Now, two local school districts are asking their county commissioners to enact a half cent sales tax for education. Newcastle and Blanchard superintendents are seeking the election from McClain County Commissioners, according to a story in this past week’s Purcell Register.

McClain County has six school districts and commissioners are considering splitting a tax up based on student population. The commissioners legal counsel is researching the issue.

Blanchard, according to the Register, sold bonds in 2007 to build a new high school. The payback was based on an 8 percent growth in net assessed valuation for the district. That growth is now about 2 and 4 percent and the district will be short about $350,000 come September of 2014, according to the Register.

State law allows for schools to share in sales taxes. MAPS for Kids provided money for school buildings in central Oklahoma. A similar sales tax measure in Carter County has gone to the Attorney General’s office for an opinion.

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