Recent news stories have focused on the massive tax increase proposed by Gov. Fallin. As president of the Oklahoma State Home Builders Association, which represents the professional builders in Oklahoma, we join in the chorus stating our opposition to such a devastating proposal.
A cursory review of each category of services that would be subject to sales tax reveals an alarming statistic. Almost half of the services directly affect the homebuilding industry. And as previous news articles have said, these services would also be subject to local sales taxes, not just state sales tax, effectively doubling the proposal. Another thing to keep in mind: These taxes will also be imposed on remodeling, not just new construction.
Here is just a sampling of those affected; masonry, windows, flooring, carpentry, electrical, plumbing, HVAC, drywall, painting, roofing, siding, termite services, landscaping, architectural, and the list goes on. Each one of these industries is obviously involved in the homebuilding industry. All of us pay sales taxes on the materials and equipment used, so it is not like we are getting a free ride.
We recently commissioned Sooner Poll and found that 78 percent of Oklahomans are opposed to increasing the prices of homes by implementation of such sales taxes. Previous polls show that Oklahomans are even more opposed to increased property taxes. It’s not a stretch to say that an increase in sales taxes to build a home is just an increase in property taxes.
The homebuilding industry took a hard hit during the recession. In Oklahoma, we’re still feeling the effects from the downturn in the oil and gas industry. The last thing we need is for our state government to put the hammer to us by increasing the cost of our mission — to build safe and affordable housing in Oklahoma.
Reeves, of Norman, is president of Landmark Fine Homes.