Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Leonard Sullivan Rips 'Bookkeeping jujitsu'

Leonard Sullivan
“With the ‘State Rainy Day Fund’ getting a $219 million deposit, now is the time for the State of Oklahoma to start paying the more than $40 million debt it owes to county government caused by the failure of the state to pay for previously approved tax break plans for businesses,” Oklahoma County Assessor Leonard Sullivan said today.
“Governor Mary Fallin received word from the U. S. Department of Agriculture that 74 of Oklahoma’s 77 counties have been declared a disaster because of drought and wildfires. Some of those disaster counties have not been reimbursed for the additional homestead exemption from the State of Oklahoma and could use these reimbursement funds to ease current conditions,” Sullivan explained.
“Currently the State of Oklahoma has failed to pay more than $40 million in additional homestead reimbursement and they haven’t paid this debt owed to counties since 2002. 

Because the way Art. 10 Sec. 6B of the Oklahoma Constitution reads the reimbursement to counties for the five-year manufacturing exemption and additional homestead exemptions when monies in the fund are insufficient to make all payments, the manufacturers’ reimbursement receives priority and counties remain unpaid,” Sullivan said.

“It is amazing to me that the State of Oklahoma continues in failing to pay its obligations but insists the legislature is balancing the budget. No they are not. They are ignoring reimbursements due county government. 

"This obligation is a failure of fiscal responsibility. This kind of bookkeeping jujitsu is irresponsible. By refusing to recognize, ignoring and failing to pay the financial obligations of the State of Oklahoma it is easy to balance a budget. But in any household in our state, if citizens refused to pay their obligations for mortgages, car payments or credit card obligations, those families would lose everything through bankruptcy and lawsuits,” Sullivan said.

“Each year the expenses for counties grow for housing jail inmates and the cost of hiring good people to bring Oklahoma Counties into the technological age, but the state fails to pay the money owed to counties to reimburse them for the double-homestead exemption designed to provide property tax breaks for our low-income homeowners,” Sullivan explained.

“We will work with legislators of both parties who support county government to get this obligation paid...."

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