Ritze Poses Municipal Taxes Questions

Rep. Mike Ritze has asked Attorney General Scott Pruitt to issue an opinion on three questions regarding municipal taxes.

First, if the voters of a county or a municipality have approved a county or municipal tax, can the purpose for which the tax was originally imposed be modified without submitting the question authorizing the change in purpose for voter approval?

“My impression would be that if voters approve money for one purpose, it should not be used for another purpose without consulting them,” said Ritze, R-Broken Arrow. “I want to find out if, legally, this is the case. If not, I think it is important that we make it a law. Taxpayers deserve to have as much say as possible when it comes to local taxes.”

Second, may the duration of a county or municipal tax be extended beyond the original duration approved by voters?

“This second question ties into the first,” said Ritze. “I would assume that just as voters approve a specific purpose, they often approve a specific duration and should be involved in any change to the duration of the tax.”

Third, is there any provision in Oklahoma law that allows either sitting county commissioners or municipal officials to initiate a tax levy which will commence on a date beyond their term of office.

“I look forward to seeing the attorney general’s opinion on these three questions and I think it will help clarify a debate going on in Tulsa County currently,” Ritze said.

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  1. Dennis Gronquist, 31 August, 2012

    I have another quiestion or two that directly relates to this discussion.

    4.) City funding is supposed to be by sales taxes voted by the people. Is it legally acceptable to use excessive utility rates to fund city operations?

    5.) At what point is excessive utility rates (backdoor taxation) determined to be illegal?

  2. Rod Cleveland, 03 September, 2012

    All good questions. Dennis, that should be a question all on its own. Maybe a legislator will pick it up.


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