Oklahoma has raised the stakes
in the battle over base plating, filing suit against the administrator
of the International Registration Plan Inc. to block sanctions against
the state, The Oklahoma City Oklahoman reported Dec. 20.
The lawsuit, which will be
heard before a federal judge in Oklahoma City, was filed to protect
more than $16 million in fees the state would lose if the sanctions
were put into place, the newspaper reported. Officials of the Oklahoma
Tax Commission started the action after being notified other states
and all 10 Canadian provinces would withhold truck fees from the
state - which fund state government and schools in Oklahoma - after
the first of the year.
In April, the IRP's Dispute
Resolution Committee ruled that Oklahoma had cheated Illinois out
of trucker fees by looking the other way when agents hired by truckers
filed false mileage projections to get their clients cheaper tags,
Land Line reported in November. The two states were given until
November to try to reach a settlement, but the IRP says Oklahoma
failed to reach an agreement with Illinois by that date.
The IRP had told Oklahoma
that if the state can't prove compliance, other states and provinces
would stop sending fees Feb. 7.
Illinois isn't the only state
complaining about fiscal losses to the Sooner State. A number of
financially strapped states are unhappy over losing money to Oklahoma.
They're particularly peeved over Oklahoma's bogus mileage and the
scandal within the Oklahoma Tax Commission.
Already, reports have come
in that some states are citing Oklahoma base-plated trucks, calling
them illegally tagged. Alabama is reportedly ticketing trucks that
officials there think are improperly registered in Oklahoma.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma officials
say losing the truck tag fees or facing a potentially large judgment
would be devastating to the state, The Oklahoman reported, which
is already facing budget shortfalls and layoffs.
Oklahoma wants the court
to force the other states to keep paying the fees and to declare
the IRP's sanctions invalid.