The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

October 30, 2013

Alva voters to decide expanding use of current 1.25 percent sales tax

— Alva voters will vote in a special election Nov. 12 on whether to expand the use of a current one-and-a-quarter percent sales tax for making capital improvements to Share Medical Center.

It is not a new tax, nor is it a tax increase. The language of the ballot will lift the restricted use of the existing hospital sales tax. The change would allow the hospital to use excess sales tax collections for operation and maintenance.

According to Share Medical Center, 36 Oklahoma hospitals receive public operating support in the form of local, county or federal subsidy.

Share Medical Center does not received tax dollars that can be used for hospital operations.

The measure up for vote would allow the excess taxes, after debt payments, to be used for operations and maintenance.

The hospital said the measure ensures additional operating revenues without placing additional burden on taxpayers.

Medicare and commercial insurers have cut hospital reimbursement by about $60,000 per month, according SMC. The hospital has increased patient volume and revenues, but not enough to make up for those cuts.

The hospital decreased spending between 2010 and 2012 by about $1 million, but still not enough to make up for cuts from Medicare and commercial insurers.

If approved, the sales tax rate will remain the same.

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