“Fish Are Friends.” Sims Passes Bill Extending Sales Tax Exemption to Aquariums

Mike Seals - March 10, 2021 6:13 pm

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma House of Representatives has passed House Bill 1566 by Rep. Lonnie Sims, R-Jenks, to align aquariums with the state sales tax exemption already granted to zoos and museums. ​

“House Bill 1566 ensures a level playing field with other educational and cultural venues already exempted from state sales taxes on admission tickets,” Sims said. “Our state’s aquariums would have the same opportunity to reinvest those dollars in offering greater access to students for education, facility renovations and promoting out-of-state visitors.”

​Sims said that 40,000 school children visit the Oklahoma Aquarium every year. Approximately 5,000 of those students receive free admission and remaining admissions for education are discounted by over 50 percent. The bill would allow this money to be used to extend greater access to education opportunities in STEM projects.

Sims also stated that out of the 400,000 visitors to the Oklahoma Aquarium annually, approximately 46% come from out-of-state generating over $1.4 million in annual sales tax revenues and a total annual economic impact of $31.3 million to the state.

Sims said, “The Oklahoma Aquarium has brought the wonders of the sea to middle America becoming one of our state’s most popular tourism destinations.”

The bill passed the House Tuesday evening with a vote of 86-12 and now proceeds to the Senate, where it is authored by Sen. Dave Rader, R-Tulsa.

 

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