A Senate panel voted to roll back promised tax credits for the wind industry.
The legislation would end the wind tax credit three years earlier than what was previously negotiated. It could save the state roughly 60-million dollars a year in refunds.
But opponents say, at what cost.
“We have projects that are already in the works that may not be able to move forward because they cannot be guaranteed completion,” said Senator Kay Floyd (D) District 46.
Senator Bryce Marlatt (R) Assistant Majority Floor Leader replied, “By ending a half cent tax credit, the projects that are currently under construction, have millions and millions of dollars invested in them will completely cease?”
Floyd responded, “Whether they cease or not is not the problem. It is that they have started with the express understanding from this body last year that they would have until the end of the year. They have made substantial investment into these projects.”
The Seirra Club said, if lawmakers want to really make an impact roll back the 2015 tax breaks on oil and gas production. They say that would generate about 430-million dollars.
“There is a lot more money to be gained by adjusting the gross production tax than by hitting the wind taxes,” said Johnson Bridgwater, Sierra Club.
Floyd said rolling back wind tax credits sends a bad message to businesses, a message that Oklahoma can’t be trusted.
“And for the state to come in at this time and unilaterally say we’re changing the rules of the game again is detrimental to the long-term business strategy of this state,” said Floyd.
Marlatt responded, “I don’t know who was approached by those promises and I don’t know who made those promises. But at some point, we have to make a decision based on what’s best for this state.”
The bill now goes before the full Senate. If it does pass, it won’t have an impact on the current state budget.