Brad Boles - Interim Studies Slated to Begin

by Brad Boles

Last week, the Speaker of the House announced 74 approved interim studies that will take place over the next several months.
These meetings explore a certain subject or policy in more depth than we often have the time to during our hectic legislative session. This makes it a great time to learn more information from top experts in the field about a potential policy. Attendees will hear from experts and be able to ask detailed questions.
This year, the list of approved interim studies is extremely varied, with topics addressing everything from economic development to absenteeism in schools to the impact of COVID-19 on various industries within the state.
These meetings are open to anyone who would like to attend or listen in. They will be livestreamed on our House website (www.okhouse.gov), and some experts will speak at the studies remotely.
This year, I joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers, Rep. Perryman (Chickasha), Rep. Roe (Lindsay) and Rep. Conley (Newcastle), to request a study examining options for cities and towns to secure funding to construct, repair, and maintain roads and bridges that are impacted by the energy industry.
In Oklahoma, the oil and industry pays a significant amount of gross production tax (GPT) to counties where they operate in addition to GPT to the state. However, municipalities currently do not receive a portion of the GPT.
Many municipalities within the Scoop and Stack oil region have suffered damage to their city roads due to drilling activity in their region. We’ll use this interim study to learn the financial impact to municipalities to repair this damage and begin examining a possible formula to allocate a portion of GPT to municipalities to cover this damage.
The intent of the study is not to raise taxes on the industry, as they already pay a huge sum of money in taxes annually. Stats from the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board show that the industry paid over $1.13 billion in GPT from July 1, 2018-June 31, 2019.
This study is not aimed to take away GPT funding from counties, as they also need money to repair county roads damaged by oil and gas industry tools. Instead, we want to analyze if a portion of the GPT taxes currently paid to the state can be reallocated to the municipalities with heavy oil and gas activity to help repair their damaged roads.
The study was assigned to the House County and Municipal Government Committee, which I chair. The date of this interim study has been narrowed down to either September 8th or 9th and will be finalized soon. In the meantime, we are gathering speakers to share their experiences and opinions at the study, and I look forward to hearing from them and exploring potential legislation on this topic.
It’s that time of the year when I start preparing legislation for the upcoming 2021 session. Please reach out to me if you have any legislative issues you would like addressed. You can reach me at ‪(405) 557-7405 or ‪brad.boles@okhouse.gov. Thank you for allowing me to serve as your State Representative, and God bless!‬‬