Oklahoma lawmaker introduces bill aiming to reform Oklahoma's property tax practices

With overcrowded classrooms, low teacher pay and a need for more textbooks, Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Keith Ballard says schools simply need more money, especially when you consider they're not getting some of the money they're already owed.

"The state really needs to follow their own guidelines. I think it would look good if they would follow the law," Ballard said.

The TPS administrator is referring to Oklahoma's place atop the list of Tulsa property tax delinquencies. The 2NEWS Investigators uncovered in July the state owed Tulsa a whopping $2 million in unpaid property taxes.

Those taxes accumulated as Oklahoma offered to pay the property taxes of manufacturers contemplating a move to the Sooner state. State officials would then pluck the money from a pot known as the "Ad Valorem Reimbursement Fund."

That fund drains dry every year, however, a problem that created the $2 million debt to the City of Tulsa. Dozens of other counties and districts were left holding the bill in 2013, with the state owing them a combined $26 million.

"We definitely have to find a way to pay our bills on time. We owe that to the citizens," State Sen. Sean Burrage, (D)-Claremore, said in June.

On Thursday, he proposed a fix, filing a bill to make up for the shortfall.

The bill's premise is simple: once the Ad Valorem fund gets low, the necessary money will be pulled from Oklahoma's general fund.

If passed, Tulsa Public Schools could receive hundreds of thousands of dollars more a year.

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