OFFICE OF SENATOR JAY PAUL
Atoka, Bryan, Coal, Johnston & Marshall Counties
For Immediate Release: February 25, 2010
Sen. Jay Paul Gumm
Senate Strengthens Penalty for Refusing Disabled Vet Tax Break
The Oklahoma Senate gave unanimous approval to a
bill by Senator
Jay Paul Gumm
to further ensure disabled veterans receive a tax benefit the
senator wrote and passed in 2005.
As part of Senator Gumm’s bills enacting the largest
tax cut in Oklahoma’s history was a measure granting a sales tax
exemption to veterans with a 100 percent service-connected
disability. According to news reports and complaints by veterans in
the early days of the exemption, a number of vendors were reluctant
to honor the exemption at the cash register.
That refusal forced veterans to file for
reimbursement from the Oklahoma Tax Commission in order to receive
the exemption. Filing took time, Gumm said, and showed an “unseemly
disrespect” toward those who served in the Armed Forces.
“It was the sacrifice of these veterans that secured
the freedom allowing these retailers to be in business,” he said.
“It is a moral obligation for these retailers to follow the law; but
it is more important that they join the state in honoring the
sacrifice of these veterans – some of whom who gave almost the last
full measure of devotion for our nation.”
Gumm said the small group of retailers which denied
the exemption missed the point: the exemption is the law and the
retailers are bound to follow it. That is why Gumm wrote and passed
in 2006 a law that imposed a $500 administrative fine on retailers
who continued to deny veterans the exemption.
After that bill became law, more vendors began to
honor the exemption. Still, Gumm said, veterans still report some
retailers continue to deny the exemption.
That led Gumm to introduce Senate Bill 1321 this year, which would
make the fine a misdemeanor criminal penalty. The bill passed the
Senate without opposition Wednesday.
“From the beginning of this important benefit our
veterans earned on the fields of battle, a small minority of
retailers have – for whatever reason – turned their back on these
veterans and the law,” the lawmaker said. “These denials have become
fewer and farther between, but there is still work to be done.
“SB 1321 would complete the journey and secure, in
the clearest terms possible, this benefit for those who fought for
Gumm’s measure now moves to the House of
Representatives for further consideration.
For more information contact:
Sen. Gumm: 405-521-5586