A new survey shows the vast majority of Oklahomans want to see tax credits for wind energy stay in place. But some lawmakers say the survey is flawed and think cuts need to be made.
The poll was conducted by the Family Business Coalition out of Washington D.C., and asked 600 Oklahomans about whether they are in favor of the tax credits and whether they would like to see them increased.
“Seventy-six percent of people either want to keep what we have or increase what Oklahoma has in place,” said Palmer Schoening with the Family Business Coalition.
Those are high numbers, but the poll did not ask about the state’s $1.3 billion budget crisis that is already leading to cuts in state services and teacher layoffs.
News 9: “When it comes to giving $100 million to a for profit company or keeping teachers in the classroom, which do most Oklahomans prefer?”
Schoening: “Most Oklahomans actually want to increase funding to education and they want more wind as well. There’s an interplay between the two. The tax revenue has brought back $1.2 billion to schools so you can’t just put those issues against each other."
Wind tax credits have already cost the state more than $100 million.
The credits are slated to expire in four years, but payments of about $60 million per year will continue for another 10 years.
“I just question the data. All I can tell you is when I’m out and about in my district and quite frankly throughout the state of Oklahoma, the two questions that I am hit with the most is what are you going to do about education? What are you going to do about tax credits?” Rep. Earl Sears, (R) Budget and Appropriations Chair, said. “And when they bring up tax credits, specifically what are we going to do about wind?”