By 82-13, House members passed a measure Monday that would prohibit increases in fair cash value of homesteads for property valuation for Oklahomans 65 years of age or older, with no income cap to qualify for the restriction.
HJR 1001, by Rep. Dave Dank, R-Oklahoma City, would require a vote of the people to amend the Oklahoma Constitution.
Dank said staff has estimated that the measure could prevent $3.5 million in valuation increases, which he stressed are not the same as a tax hike.
“This is a fair thing for seniors that are on fixed incomes,”
Some lawmakers questioned giving such a break to all seniors, including the wealthy. But Dank said older Oklahomans with a lot of money are the exception to the rule. He also said seniors are having to cope with no Social Security benefit increases, no pension COLAs, soaring health care and drug costs and many other hikes in what they must pay out each month.
Dank also said that having such a benefit in place may prompt more senior citizens to stay in (or come to) Oklahoma after they retire.
Rep. Doug Cox, R-Grove, said that only three states–New Mexico, Alabama and Arkansas–have lower property taxes than Oklahoma. Dank countered by citing a study that found Oklahoma’s property taxes to be the eighth fastest growing ad valorem taxes in the country.