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A bill aimed at providing working families with a tax rebate cleared the Senate Appropriations Committee today by receiving a majority vote that will now send the proposal to a vote on the Senate floor.
Senate Bill 918, authored by Senator Jay Paul Gumm, D-Durant, creates the Helping Oklahomans Prosper Economically (HOPE) Fund. The bill is part of Gov. Brad Henry’s tax package.
This fund will direct payments to taxpayers on an equal basis in the form of rebates after excess revenue has been placed in the legislative mandated rainy day fund. By making the rebates equal, working families will get a proportionally larger rebate than wealthy Oklahomans.
“Helping working families in Oklahoma with rebates is an innovative approach to creating a responsible tax structure,” Gumm said. “Our job is to strike a balance between keeping taxes as low as possible and providing the critical services Oklahomans depend on to make tomorrow better for our children and with today’s committee vote we did that.”
Gumm said the measure also uses excess revenue to eventually put $1 billion into an economic development and research initiative stemming from the governor’s EDGE initiative, which stands for Economic Development Generating Excellence.
The Economic Development Research Endowment Fund will provide a funding mechanism for research and technology transfer projects throughout the state.
“In the information-based economy of the 21st century, research is key to economic growth,” Gumm said. “The governor hopes to make Oklahoma the research capital of the plains. This fund and a growing economy will help create good-paying paying jobs for deserving Oklahomans.”
Gumm said the historic work done by the Senate Appropriations Committee Wednesday is another step in efforts to build a brighter future for Oklahomans.
“Enacting policies that help working families is critical to our effort to making tomorrow better for our children, “Gumm said. “I am pleased with the work done in committee and look forward to bringing these bills to the Senate floor.
“We have a sacred responsibility to bring opportunity and hope to all Oklahomans and generations yet unborn.”