OKLAHOMA – A proposed bill that would exempt home and business owners from paying sales tax on storm shelters may be coming to a dead-end.
Two state representatives have been pushing for the measure since last year, but they say the fight isn’t over just yet.
Rep. Eric Proctor is calling HB 3152 a common sense solution that promises to save Oklahomans some money and lives.
If passed into law, it will give tax breaks for people who are looking to buy and install a FEMA storm shelter.
Money for the rebates would come out of the state’s general fund, but if this bill isn’t heard on the floor by Thursday then it’s back to square one for supporters.
“Sadly, people needing sales tax relief and assurance that what they’re paying for are what they’re paying, promised they would be paying for, or they’re not going to get a shelter,” said Rep. Eric Proctor, Tulsa.
Proctor along with Rep. Joe Dorman, who’s running against Mary Fallin for governor says the tax incentive is just one part of the bill.
“Under Oklahoma law there are no standards in place,” said Rep. Joe Dorman, Rush Springs. “Anyone can set up a company, they can advertise it, and there’s no certification process.”
Dorman wants to hold companies accountable for their work by having the Department of Emergency Management put together a list of approved companies.
These companies will have to meet FEMA requirements for storm shelters and be in good standing with the state’s tax commission.
Dorman said the list would make it easier for homeowners to weed out the bad companies when they’re looking to buy a shelter.
“We’re seeing too many of those creeping into the sector now where people will say it’s tornado proof,” said Dorman. “But there’s no standard and no proof it would withstand a strong EF4 or EF5.”