Saturday, April 16, 2011

Dank's Property Tax Freeze Dead For Year

From The Tulsa World ~ A legislative proposal to freeze property tax assessments for senior citizens is dead for the year.

A second proposal to limit assessment hikes for all homeowners to 3 percent has run into some difficulties but remains alive.

Rep. David Dank, R-Oklahoma City, author of both proposals, says there is still time to get both proposed changes to the state Constitution back on track for the 2012 general election.

Dank's House Joint Resolution 1001 would have frozen the assessments on homesteads in which the head of household is at least 65 years old. Currently, assessment freezes are available to senior households that meet total household income thresholds. In Tulsa County, the cap is $59,300.

The senior freeze passed the state House 82-13 last month but failed to meet a Thursday deadline for consideration by a Senate committee. Sen. Mike Mazzei, R-Tulsa, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said he wanted to concentrate legislative efforts on another pending property tax proposal sponsored by Dank and Sen. Jim Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City.

Mazzei said he has told Dank he will give his senior property tax freeze consideration next year.

That second proposal, House Joint Resolution 1002, would limit assessment increases for all homesteads and agricultural property to no more than 3 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower.

Currently, assessment increases on all real estate - including commercial property - is limited to 5 percent. HJR 1002 passed the House 81-16 but was amended in the Senate to eliminate the inflation rate option. The increase would be limited to 3 percent. As amended, the bill passed the Senate 26-19.

Dank said he isn't sure if he will accept the change to his proposal or continue to work on the resolutions next year.

Because both proposals would change the state Constitution, they would have to be approved by the people in a general election vote. That means this year's legislative deadlines aren't particularly pressing. Lawmakers could continue working on the proposals next year and still make the ballot in the next general election, which is in November 2012.

Read more from this Tulsa World article at

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