The Edmond Sun

November 5, 2012

Everyone pays when government levies ‘intangible tax’

Rep. Jason Murphey
Special to The Sun

GUTHRIE — Each day, taxpayers give up millions of dollars due to cost of living increases because of government regulation and taxation. Most taxpayers never realize that the government is the reason they are paying so much. This is because of the hidden costs of government that are baked into every aspect of our lives.

One of Oklahoma’s state questions on the Tuesday ballot provides a great object lesson for how much the average citizen pays because of less-than-transparent government regulation and taxation.

State Question 766 stops the effort to enforce a draconian “intangible” property tax. If this tax goes forward, it will greatly harm Oklahoma’s economic climate. Why would a business open its doors in Oklahoma when it fears having to inventory or pay property taxes on “intangible” items such as domain names, goodwill, customer lists, trademarks and business logos?

The opponents of the proposal may begrudgingly acknowledge the obvious harm to small businesses if the intangible property tax were to go forward. They may even admit that without passage of State Question 766 this tax might be applied to the average person even if he doesn’t own a business. However, this doesn’t stop them from opining that the intangible property tax should remain in place for large corporations.

It appears that a few years ago, state officials started levying this unfair tax against certain corporations. There are some who want state government to continue charging big business with this tax and thus oppose State Question 766.

I completely fail to see how it is justifiable to levy such an unfair tax against one group and not another. If the tax is unfair for one group, then it is certainly unfair for all groups.

But consider this: We all pay the cost of this tax even if it were to be selectively applied to just one group of citizens. The cost of this unfair tax will be paid by the customers who purchase from the corporations that state government has acted so punitively against. When the government levies an unfair tax or when it increases the cost of business through new regulations, the cost of that action gets passed down to the average citizen.

When state government tries to charge an antiquated “intangible” property tax to utility companies, the consumers will pay for this through higher utility bills.

Over the years, this results in millions of dollars of hidden and non-transparent costs and taxation that few taxpayers even realize they are paying.

Nothing better demonstrates this fact than the “intangible” property tax issue. Those who oppose the issue seem to think that the taxed corporations have a money printing press. They don’t seem to realize that it is the average, hard-working taxpayer who is punished with a higher and higher cost of living every time governments come up with schemes such as “intangible” property taxation.

This represents just one clear example of the cost of living increases that result from government actions and that punish the average citizen each and every day. At a later date I intend to write about more of these examples such as the role federal monetary policy plays in making the citizens pay far more than they ever should.



REP. JASON MURPHEY, R-Guthrie, represents House District 31, which encompasses all of Logan County and a portion of northern Edmond. He may be reached via email at jason.murphey@okhouse.gov, on Facebook at facebook.com/JasonMurphey and Twitter.com/JWMurphey.