In what could be deemed a surprisingly quiet and deliberative debate on Wednesday morning (March 16), state Senator Jim Reynolds of Oklahoma City shepherded his property tax limitation measure, Senate Joint Resolution 5, to comfortable approval.
In a respectful exchange with Senator Jim Wilson of Tahlequah, who carried much of the rhetorical load for Democrats in debates that morning, Reynolds defended the measure’s provisions. Senator Judy Eason McIntyre also questioned Reynolds about aspects of the bill.
The proposed constitutional amendment, which would require voter approval, could effectively limit annual property tax increases to 3% a year. The proposed ballot language would define the limit as “the lesser of either three percent or the rate of inflation. The rate of inflation is based on the Consumer Price Index and set by the federal government."
Sen. Reynolds told Sen. Wilson the measure would result in $11 million in property tax levies in the year 2014.
Effective date of the change would be January 1, 2013.
Senator Reynolds’ proposal carried 30-14.
In addition to Sen. Reynolds, supporters included 30 of the Senate Republicans: Cliff Aldridge of Midwest City, Mark Allen of Spiro, Patrick Anderson, Don Barrington of Lawton, Brian Bingman of Sapulpa (President Pro Tem), Cliff Branan of Oklahoma City, Josh Brecheen of Coalgate, Rick Brinkley of Owasso, Bill Brown of Broken Arrow, Harry Coates of Seminole, Kim David of Porter, Eddie Fields of Wynona, John Ford of Bartlesville, David Holt of Oklahoma City, Rob Johnson of Kingfisher, Clark Jolley of Edmond, Ron Justice of Chickasha, Bryce Marlatt of Woodward, Mike Mazzei of Tulsa, David Myers of Ponca City, Dan Newberry of Tulsa, Jonathan Nichols of Norman, Steve Russell of Oklahoma City, Mike Schultz of Altus, Ralph Shortey of Oklahoma City, Frank Simpson of Ardmore, Gary Stanislawski of Tulsa, Anthony Sykes of Moore and Great Treat of Oklahoma City.
One Republican, Brian Crain of Tulsa, joined 13 Democrats in opposition, including Wilson and Eason McIntyre; and Sens. Roger Ballenger of Okmulgee, Randy Bass of Lawton, Sean Burrage of Claremore, Jerry Ellis of Valliant, Earl Garrison of Muskogee, Charlie Laster of Shawnee, Richard Lerlance of Hartshorne, Susan Paddack of Ada, Andrew Rice of Oklahoma City (the Minority Leader), John Sparks of Norman, and Charles Wyrick of Fairland.
Not voting on the bill were Jim Halligan of Stillwater, a Republican, and Democrats Tom Adelson of Tulsa, Tom Ivester of Elk City and Connie Johnson of Oklahoma City.
Senator Reynolds has worked on the proposal for several years, and has prevailed previously in the Senate, only to see the measure die in the House when leaders refused to hear the it.