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Controversy Surrounding Capital Gains Tax

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OKLAHOMA CITY -

We are hearing a lot about the capital gains tax at the state capitol.  Teachers want it passed.  Opponents say it will hurt business and now there’s even some controversy over the politics of the tax.

The capital gains tax is the tax you pay on the profit of the sale of land or stocks, and it’s taxed at a different rate than regular income. But there is an effort to change that.

Teachers chant “shame on you, shame on you” after the House of Representatives refused to hear a bill that would lift the exemption on the capital gains tax, effectively raising it. Teachers want the raise to help fund education.

“It’s literally a tax on small business, on job creation, on investment by individuals, by businesses of all shapes and sizes," said Dave Bond of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs.

In a hand written agreement between Republicans and Democrats obtained by News 9, both sides originally agreed to eliminate the capital gains exemption raising roughly 120-million per year for the state. But in the final deal capital gains was left out. Republican lawmakers would only agree to a 5% tax on oil and natural gas production if capital gains was off the table.

“Capital gains was never part of any agreement. It was part of a larger agreement that we took different pieces out to get to where we are but capital gains was never part of the discussion," said Representative Mark McBride (R) Assistant Majority Floor Leader.

Representative Forrest Bennet (D) Oklahoma City signed the deal on behalf of democrats. “I mean I’ll just tell you what I was told personally and that’s that capital gains would be run separately. And I’m not blaming anybody for misinformation. I just think it was a misunderstanding,” Bennett said.

“I think it’s a lot of political theater. A lot of drama. Keep people wound up they’ll stay,” McBride added.

The Senate already passed the exemption but leaders say it wouldn’t make an impact on the 2019 education budget. They say the $2.9 billion budget is a done deal, and there seems to be a disconnect with teachers and the Oklahoma Education Association over that.

“Yes there’s a disconnect but there’s also intentional misinformation being given out by some that continually move the ball. [Some] that put out demands then change their demands after we meet those demands.” Said Senator Greg Treat (R) Majority Floor Leader. “I think the demands from the OEA are ever changing and you don’t know if they even want this to end.”

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