Oklahoma Farm Bureau is encouraging members to contact their state legislators to urge a NO vote on House Bill 2092 by Rep. Lonnie Sims and Senate Bill 189 by Sen. Dave Rader.
The legislation would allow county commissioners to create a hazard mitigation district funded by a new property tax, upon approval by 60% of voters in the county.
The district would include all territory within the county, except for land within city limits that is zoned for agricultural use. Unincorporated land in rural areas is not exempted, which would subject farmers, ranchers and landowners to an additional property tax burden.
Authorized uses for the funds generated by the new tax include, but are not limited to:
- short-term and long-term acquisitions and improvements to the county;
- planning, constructing, operating and maintaining hazard mitigation capital improvements;
- securing matching funds from the state or federal government;
- purchasing and maintaining equipment and vehicles;
- administrative costs for county management of a mitigation plan;
- administrative costs for county treasurers to bill, collect and process the new tax;
- acquiring, demolishing, relocating, or elevating structures in flood prone areas;
- county health departments for public health hazard mitigation plans;
- and cleanup following a hazard.
The bills would lead to a significant expansion of red tape and government bureaucracy at the county level by creating two new commissions to manage the district funds. And the legislation is only one in a series of property tax increase proposals being considered by lawmakers at the state Capitol this year.
Oklahoma farmers and ranchers are already battling uncertain commodity prices, ever-increasing production costs and extreme weather; now is not the time to inflict an additional property tax burden on agricultural producers.
For more information, please contact OKFB Public Policy staff.