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Lawmakers ditch legislation to tax aggregate producers.

Byline: Steve Metzer

OKLAHOMA CITY A bill that would have allowed counties to adopt a gross production tax on aggregates like sand and gravel mined in the state and used in road and other construction projects won't advance to become law this year.

House Bill 1404 was cut from a list of bills scheduled to be heard before a recent deadline set for action by the Senate Finance Committee. State Sen. David Bullard, R-Durant, the bill's chief Senate author, made the decision to lay it over to keep it alive for possible consideration next year. The bill's House author, state Rep. Justin Humphrey, R-Atoka, agreed that tabling the measure made sense for now.

"We need more time to lobby the Oklahoma Municipal League and the State Chamber. We also need to involve the tribes, which are located mainly in rural areas," Humphrey said.

Humphrey said county commissioners in Oklahoma, their employees and other county officials may also need to get more involved in lobbying for the measure. Rural counties like Johnston County in southeastern Oklahoma especially would benefit from collecting taxes on mined aggregates, about 100 million tons of which are mined annually in the Sooner State.

HB1404 would have allowed taxes to be adopted on a county-by-county basis of up to 10 cents per ton on aggregates. Humphrey compared what had been proposed to production taxes that have been collected for years on oil and gas. In areas where aggregates are mined, he said heavy trucks and other equipment take a high toll on roads and that production taxes would help to offset wear and tear.

The bill was opposed by the State Chamber of Oklahoma.

"I'm not sure why the Chamber is so opposed," said state Sen. Frank Simpson, R-Ardmore. "The impact on the price of gravel would be almost insignificant."

The bill had passed through the House on a 65-25 vote. During discussion there it was noted that several states tax aggregate companies.

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Publication:Journal Record (Oklahoma City, OK)
Geographic Code:1U7OK
Date:Apr 23, 2019
Words:334
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