Senator Grover Campbell has asked State Attorney General Drew Edmondson for an official opinion on whether transferable tax credits are in violation of the state's constitution. The answer could have a direct impact on legislation such as a bill recently signed into law giving Great Plains Airlines $9 million in transferable tax credits. That's in addition to another $18 million in transferable tax credits previously given to Great Plains.
"I think there's a clear question about the legality of these credits. With transferable tax credits, the company who gets them doesn't necessarily use them to get a break on their taxes. They can turn around and sell them for cash, which is what Great Plains did with the first round of credits they got from the state. They used it to raise $15 million in cash," said Campbell, R-Owasso.
However Article X, section 15 of the Oklahoma Constitution says the state cannot "make donation by gift, subscription to stock, by tax or otherwise, to any company, association, or corporation."
"I believe these transferable tax credits are just the same as the state writing a check to a particular company; something which is a blatant violation of our constitution. And how is it that one company gets singled out for this gift, when there are probably hundreds of others just as worthy and that employ many more Oklahomans than Great Plains?" asked Campbell.
Senator Campbell said he expected to get an answer from the Attorney General about the legality of transferable tax credits within the next six to eight weeks.