ONLY ON SQ766 could cause confusion for voters

Published: Oct. 8, 2012 at 4:24 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla_On November 6th, the country will go to the polls to vote for who will be the President of the United States for the next 4 years. But there are more races on Oklahoma's ballot than just for POTUS.

Citizens will be casting their vote in multiple local races and for six state questions. One question in particular could cause confusion for voters who have not done their research.

State Question 766 has to do with the state government's ability to tax intangible property, meaning property that does not have a value based on its physical attributes.

Bob Milner, the legislative affairs chairman for the Lawton-Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce, said this has the ability to affect everyone.

"It's too easy for individuals to go in anytime they are looking at ballots for state questions and say I don't like that and I don't like that, I'm going to vote no on all taxes but in this case if you vote no you are essentially voting to tax yourself."

Voting "yes" on SQ766 will change the Oklahoma State Constitution to say that no intangible property can be subject any type of tax. Intangible property in this case includes things like inventions, patents, contracts, insurance policies, land leases, mineral rights, trademarks and custom computer software.

"The question becomes, number one, is that the right things to do and number two, even if it is the right thing to do how do you do it consistently and under appropriate valuation?" Milner said.

Milner and his colleagues at the Chamber of Commerce are hoping to inform citizens before Election Day so they will understand what they are doing once inside the voting booth.

"We are trying to educate as many people in the Lawton-Fort Sill area as we can. If they don't take anything else away from the website, or the luncheon or anything else we do its vote yes for no taxes."

Voting yes while meaning no new taxes is a strange concept but the ballot question had to be written that way based on the current language of the Oklahoma Constitution.

As with any issue there is a possible downside. By voting to keep intangible property from being taxed by the state, there is a chance the state will lose some revenue from current property which is already being taxed, mainly from bigger businesses in the state. But Milner said he hopes that by voting yes on SQ766 it will invite more business to the state which will grow the tax base and replace the lost revenue now, with greater revenue later.