As the great Winston Churchill once said, “Sometimes doing your best is not good enough. Sometimes you must do what is required.”
Oklahoma still faces a budget deficit for fiscal year 2018, and next year’s budget hole is expected to be significant.
As we have reported , there is a relatively simple solution that can help solve the problem. It only requires a simple majority vote of the legislature and it could generate more than $120 million annually from an industry that makes multi-billion dollar profits.
A simple majority vote by lawmakers to change two wind subsidy programs could contribute to this year budget deficit.
- Repeal the sales tax exemption! Industrial wind companies should pay sales tax like everyone else. An estimated $20 million annually could be collected, according to Oklahoma Tax Commission figures.
- Implement a cap on Zero Emissions Tax subsidies. Another $100 million annually could be saved if the Legislature instituted an annual cap on the subsidies paid. Although new projects no longer qualify for the credit, taxpayers are still required to pay subsidies for 10 years from first commercial operation that began before July 1, 2017. Year-to-date electricity production from wind for 2017 suggests that we will pay more than $112 million in tax credits for the 2017 tax year. If we implemented a $12.5 million cap — the amount established for economically at-risk oil and gas wells — we could generate $100 million in savings. Without a cap, the total over the next 10 years will exceed $930 million.
To put it bluntly, we continue to subsidize a multi-billion dollar industry to the detriment of Oklahoma. Let’s end this corporate welfare and demand more for Oklahoma. Contact your lawmaker today and demand they do what’s required.