Learn How Big Wind Can Contribute to Oklahoma’s Budget Deficit
Lawmakers are struggling with how to fund the significant gap in our state budget. However, the state could potentially generate more than $120 million annually through a simple majority vote of the legislature to change two wind subsidy programs. Read a recent editorial here
Last year, the Oklahoma Legislature signed House Bill 2298 into law to address the cost of excessive wind subsidies. The bill modifies the Zero Emissions Tax Credit for electricity generated by wind turbines by moving the deadline to qualify for tax credits from January 1, 2021 to July 1, 2017. Ending the subsidy early cuts Oklahoma's losses by up to $3.7 billion; however, projects built before the sunset date will still be paid subsidies for 10 years.
There is still more work to do!
The Zero Emission subsidy will cost more than $120 million for fiscal year 2017. No real savings will result until 2021. Oklahoma is still at risk to spend more than $1 billion to subsidize companies foreign to Oklahoma and electricity sold to residents of other states. As our state experiences a massive budget deficit and education continues to suffer, we must do more.
Oklahoma's average teacher salary is among the lowest in the nation and hasn't been raised since 2008. Quality teachers are walking away from the profession because they simply can’t afford to make ends meet. While legislators have called for a $6,000 raise for Oklahoma public school teachers, they have not identified a way to pay for it.