Governor to stop rule on tax incentive program - - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - |

Governor to stop rule on tax incentive program

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Gov. Brad Henry is preparing an executive order to suspend an Oklahoma Tax Commission rule that investors are using to abuse a tax incentive program that is costing taxpayers tens of millions of dollars, officials confirmed Thursday.

"The Commissioners have discussed it with the governor's office and we welcome the order," said Tony Mastin, policy director for the three-member Tax Commission. "It somewhat gives us the ability to put everything on hold while the Legislature and the Governor's Office is deciding what to do with the credits and any new requirements."

Tax Commission officials estimate that state lost $66 million during the 2005 calendar year as some investors took advantage of venture capital programs for small businesses without necessarily creating any new jobs.

Paul Sund, spokesman for Henry, said the governor's order suspending the rule could be issued as early as Thursday afternoon. He said it was only a temporary solution to the problem.

"The only way to stop the abuse permanently is to change the law," Sund said. "But in the meantime, Gov. Henry wants to take steps that will make it more difficult to play the system for an unjust profit.

"That's what this executive order is designed to do -- stop abuse of the incentives programs. They were designed to create new jobs in Oklahoma, not to reward individuals who operate an accounting shell game to claim inflated tax credits."
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