Aggregate Severance Tax Benefits Rural Oklahoma

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Despite heavy lobbying by Johnston County officials and citizens on behalf of rural Oklahoma, State House Bill 1404 was pulled from the schedule to be heard by the Oklahoma State Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Senator Stephannie Bice, (R-Oklahoma City). Earlier in the session, the Senate version of this bill, Senate Bill 440 sponsored by Senator Frank Simpson was also killed by Bice without a hearing.

Former president of the Oklahoma County Commissioners and presently a commissioner in Johnston County stated, “The state Chamber committed significant resources to defeat HB 1404. Yet rural Oklahoma continues to travel to Oklahoma City and Tulsa to support urban businesses. At some point the State Chamber must understand that rural Oklahoma has economic needs too. We don’t have one mile of four lane highway in Johnston County but the urban areas have miles of four and six lane roads. What’s fair about that?”

In an interview with the Ardmoreite, Senator Frank Simpson (R-Ardmore) also expressed concern about the motives of the State Chamber. Simpson stated, “I’m not sure why the Chamber is so opposed to this bill. The impact on the price of gravel would be almost insignificant?”


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