Fisher appointment criticized

The appointment of former Senator Ted Fisher to the Council of Bond Oversight "is an alarming development for anyone who believes in government accountability," Rep. Mike Reynolds said Friday.

"To put it mildly, Senator Fisher has an extremely weak record when it comes to ensuring tax dollars are not wasted or funneled to questionable business transactions," said Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City.

"Thanks to former Senator Fisher’s actions, Oklahoma taxpayers were fleeced out of millions of dollars through a tax credit scheme."

During his time in the state Senate, Fisher (D-Sapulpa) authored the Small Business Capital Formation Incentive Act and the Rural Venture Capital Formation Incentive Act. Supporters claimed the two programs,which provided tax credits on money invested in certain projects, would spur economic development.

In reality, the two programs were massive tax loopholes that drained state coffers without generating new jobs, Reynolds noted.Under Fisher’s legislation, there was no requirement for a person to seek pre-approval of an investment plan to obtain the tax credits, Reynolds said.

Ultimately, individuals had the ability to borrow money to obtain tax credits whose value actually exceeded the initial loan, allowing recipients to pay off the loan and make a profit solely on the paper transaction.

Apparently, some "investors" never spent a dime on any actual projects, yet they still reaped massive financial rewards.

When lawmakers finally closed the Fisher loopholes, it was unclear how much the tax credits would ultimately cost the state, but officials suggested several hundred million dollars in credits had already been issued, according to news reports at the time.

About the Author:
Mike McCarville has covered Oklahoma politics and government since he became State Capitol Correspondent for The Tulsa Tribune in 1966. Since, he has been a governor’s press secretary, investigative reporter, television station news executive, radio station program director and talk show host, and political consultant. In 1980, he founded The McCarville Report and it is the nation’s longest-running state political publication. In its online version, it has been called "The best political blog" by Dr. Keith Gaddie, pollster and pundit and "Oklahoma’s venerable McCarville Report" by The Arkansas Times.  McCarville, also a real estate investor and commentator for the National Rifle Association on and Sirius Satellite Radio, is a regular contributor to Tulsa Today.