Legislative Tax Victories for Oklahoma Equipment Dealers

Comments from Western Equipment Dealers Association (WEDA)
Vice President of Government Affairs Eric Wareham

(April 10, 2018 – Kansas City, Missouri) The 2018 Oklahoma state legislature has seen several bills this session that seek to increase revenue by making tax policy changes that would impact the agriculture industry at an already difficult time, and the Western Equipment Dealers Association (WEDA) says they expect more such challenges in the future.

WEDA Vice President of Government Affairs Eric Wareham explains that the Oklahoma legislature faced a $400-600 million projected budget gap at the beginning of this year. “Once again legislators have taken to turning over every rock to raise revenue, and the teacher walkout has upped the ante on finding funding sources,” said Wareham.

Wareham says there have been three major bills on the state level that would impact both farmers and farm equipment dealers.

Sunset of Ag Sales Tax Exemption Bill Amended to Remove Elimination
“The first major tax bill this session that caught most of the business community off-guard was House Bill 3225. The bill would have brought sweeping change and wild unpredictability by sunsetting all tax credits and exemptions by 2021, including the farm equipment sales tax exemption. This would have set up a scenario where every industry with a tax credit or exemption would have been required to come before the legislature and pass a bill to reinstitute the credit or exemption in statute. This very radical legislation made it out of a sub-committee before being substantially amended to remove all provisions relating to sunsetting of tax credits or exemptions. The bill in its current form would create a searchable online database for tax credits in the state of Oklahoma without affecting any tax credits or exemptions.”

Elimination of Ag Sales Tax Exemption for Qualifying Purchases Totaling Less Than $25,000 Killed
“The second tax bill to come up during session was Senate Bill 1392, sponsored by Senator Quinn (R-Claremore). That legislation would have made the agricultural operations exemption permit renewable on an annual basis instead of the current three-year time period. It would have also created a minimum threshold of $25,000 in sales to qualify for the agricultural exemption. The bill made it out of an Appropriations sub-committee before we could kill the bill and prevented it from being scheduled for a hearing in the full Appropriations Committee. That bill is now dead for this session.”

Bill to Eliminate Capital Gains Exemptions Stalled
“As of now, the final tax bill with the potential to dramatically affect Oklahoma dealers is Senate Bill 1086. The bill would repeal the state capital gains exemption created in 2004 by State Question 713, ostensibly to pay for teacher raises. More specifically, the bill would tax capital gains on the individual and corporate level for investments in Oklahoma property and businesses, including the sale of an Oklahoma business, or the sale of stock or ownership interest in an Oklahoma business. The bill remains alive and we have joined the Oklahoma State Chamber and dozens of other industries and organizations opposing this bill.”

“WEDA fights for our members on Capitol Hill, in your state and in the communities where you do business,” said John Schmeiser, CEO WEDA. “There’s still more work to be done but we will build on our success and continue to work hard to defeat excessive regulations to protect our member’s businesses.” WEDA’s advocacy efforts include educating policymakers and the Administration, building successful coalitions, and mobilizing their grassroots on a range of issues.

For more information about this legislation or additional information about being actively involved in WEDA’s government affairs efforts, visit westerneda.com.

Click on link below to download interview with WEDA Vice President of Government Affairs Eric Wareham providing update on Oklahoma legislation and comments on the potential for more challenges in the future and how such actions would impact an already depressed farm economy.
Interview with WEDA Vice President of Government Affairs Eric Wareham

About Western Equipment Dealers Association
WEDA represents North American farm, industrial and outdoor power equipment dealers across Canada and the United States. WEDA also represents U.S. hardware retailers in select states. As the largest equipment dealer association in North America and the largest regional trade association of its kind in North America, WEDA offers members a comprehensive array of dealer-oriented legislative, educational and communications services, ranging from lobbying to legal, accounting and marketing support. WEDA also provides products and services that include industry and manufacturer relations, as well as industry information and intelligence. The Association’s many programs are either available only to members or provided at a reduced cost for members. Visit https://westerneda.com for more information.

Carolynn Sinclair