It is my belief thatLogan County’s high sales tax rate has been a deterrent to retail-based
economic growth. In 2005, the county made the unfortunate decision to increase taxes to the maximum amount allowed by state law. This placed Logan County businesses at a significant disadvantage when compared to their counterparts in other metro area communities that have a much lower sales tax rate.
For years, the valid perception has existed that Logan County residents will save money if they go out of the county to make big purchases. The financial impact of this perception is difficult to quantify, but I believe it has been substantial. Although, I certainly do not begrudge the communities that have offered Logan County residents a better deal by charging much less in sales tax.
Over the next few years, much of this is set to change. As soon as November, the county portion of the Logan County sales tax is set to fall by 43%. This will decrease the sales tax in Guthrie to 8.5% and the sales tax in south Logan County to just 5.5%.
Because of this decrease, by next year, the Guthrie sales tax may be just a quarter cent higher than the Edmond sales tax and just over a tenth of a cent higher than the Oklahoma City sales tax rate.
Over the next few years, as tax for the new Logan County jail is no longer needed, the Guthrie rate could fall to 7.75% and the south Logan County rate to 4.75%. This means that for the first time in many years, the Guthrie tax rate should be lower than the tax in both Edmond and Oklahoma City, and one of the lowest in the metro area. The south Logan County rate will be one of the lowest in the entire state.
I believe that recent actions by county leaders to cut sales taxes will have very beneficial long term results. I feel that one of Edmond’s keys to success was the commitment to keep lower sales tax rates when compared to surrounding communities. Now, as the growth continues to the north, Logan County officials should copy the Edmond low-tax model.
The low tax rate should serve as a strong motivator for additional retail growth in South Logan County. Over the last few years, retail businesses have already started to invest in south Logan County. These additional buying opportunities, coupled with one of the lowest sales tax rates in the state, should incentivize this growth even more. South Logan County residents will be hard pressed to justify paying in excess of an 8% sales tax in one of the surrounding communities when they can stay close to home and pay 4.75%. In fact, those who live in north Edmond will likely find it easier to avoid the traffic and cut costs when making quick purchases by driving north to south Logan County.
These impending changes will transform the area from Seward Road, south to Waterloo, into a very low tax zone, and perhaps in the future will give officials in surrounding communities a good reason to avoid raising their own taxes.
Logan County officials must maintain their current policy of tax-reduction. Lowering taxes has not been an easy task to accomplish, but implementing a low-tax policy is the right thing to do for local merchants who have invested so much into the community. Logan County’s past policy of high taxation has unfairly punished these individuals. It is also the right thing to do for the local residents who have worked hard for their income, and who will spend the savings with much more wisdom than the government ever could.
State Representative Jason Murphey
State Capitol Building – Room #437
2300 North Lincoln Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
1(405) 557-7350 (Office)
1(405) 315-5064 (Cell)