As Congress is back in Washington for a brief "lame duck" session, it is important that Marketplace Fairness Act be one of their top priorities to be considered and signed into law. On behalf of the Four Hundred Sixty-Seven (467) member municipalities of the Oklahoma Municipal League (OML) this is the number One federal issue.
We are pleased to announce that Governor Mary Fallin has signed HB 1875 by Rep. Charles McCall (R-Atoka) and Sen. Clark Jolley (R-Edmond).
HB 1875 reduces the Oklahoma Tax Commission retention fee for municipalities and counties. It is a result of a two year joint effort between the Oklahoma Municipal League (OML) and the Oklahoma Tax Commission (OTC). Municipalities in Oklahoma contract with OTC to collect and remit their sales and use tax. For this service, the municipalities pay OTC a retainage fee ranging from 1% to 1 ¾% (most contracts are at 1%).
To offset any loss of funding to OTC, the bill allows OTC to capture any loss through the OMES/OTC Computer Enhancement Fund.
Every municipality in the state that collects sales tax benefits from this bill, allowing money that is rightfully due to the city or town to remain in their community to provide local services.
Special thanks to the Municipal Liaison Board and the Accountability team for all the work in finding this solution.
One of the League's primary responsibilities is to represent the viewpoint of its member cities and towns at the state legislature. During each legislative session hundreds of bills are introduced that affect municipal government. These measures are followed on a day-to-day basis, many of them are actively supported or opposed, and developments are reported to our membership during the session. Between legislative sessions, the League provides information to interim committees.
At the federal level the League keeps our congressional delegation apprised of the positions of our city and town officials on various national issues. Staff works with both state and federal officials who develop the rules used to implement legislation to assure that policies and programs are compatible with and meet the needs of our cities and towns.
Our legislative philosophy is set by our members and reflected in the official issues statement which is revised yearly at the annual conference. The League supports legislation which will materially assist municipalities in their daily operations and opposes bill which would seriously hinder their abilities to govern themselves or that mandate additional costs.
OML Legislative Staff:
In an effort to have a favorable outcome on legislation involving cities and towns, this program has been created for key municipal leadership actively involved in the legislative process.
The GRIP program will allow us to make quick contact with you, who in turn, can make quick contact with your legislator(s) on issues of importance to you during the legislative session. Whenever a contact needs to be made, you will be notified. These issues often turn on a few hours of notice. When contacted you will receive all information that you need on the issue. If there is time we will e-mail or fax. In critical situations we will try to call you.
The Oklahoma Municipal League is recognized as the respected representative of Oklahoma municipalities in the state legislature, administrative agencies, and federal government and the authoritative source for legislative and other information for member cities and towns.
The central purpose of the Oklahoma Municipal League is to advance the interests and welfare of the cities and towns of our State with priorities given to economic development, municipal finance and governance. The basic goals of the League are to provide information and assistance to municipal officials and serve as the collective voice of local government officials in interactions at both the state and national levels.
The League’s position on legislative proposals and agency rules is based on fundamental principles of enhancing the ability of local officials to govern efficiently and effectively. Legislative issues are submitted by a resolution supported by the local council. Issues of statewide concern may be brought directly to the Legislative Committee without a resolution. OML’s legislative policy is established by the Board of Directors pursuant to recommendations made by the Committee.
The Legislative Committee is comprised of elected and appointed officials who are briefed on League legislative positions and who are asked to advocate at the legislature and state agencies, along with League staff on a regular basis. The League President appoints the municipal officials to serve on the Committee. Local officials interested in serving on the Committee are strongly encouraged to submit their names for consideration to the League’s executive director.
OML’s Legislative Committee meets regularly during the legislative session as well as one month prior to the League’s annual conference to hear the proposed resolutions and other issues that have been submitted for consideration for the upcoming legislative session. Issues that are approved at the Committee meeting are then submitted to the OML Board of Directors for final approval and then to the full membership for adoption at the annual conference.
Once a position or issue has been adopted, the League should be regarded as the voice for Oklahoma’s cities and towns in such matters. The League will not intervene or act upon matters of dispute between member municipalities, unless authorized by the Board of Directors.
As each bill is filed prior to the session, and amended throughout the legislative process, it is reviewed by OML staff members. Those of interest to municipalities are identified, and, with input from city officials, the OML Executive Committee, the executive director and staff make a determination of whether to support, oppose, monitor or take no position on a bill.
OML is your organization. Together we provide a strong voice for Oklahoma municipalities. Cities and towns either win or lose together at the State Capitol since it takes a majority of legislators from all over the state---whether rural or urban, democrat or republican---to carry the day. The number one ingredient for success at the legislature and state agencies is a united collective municipal voice.