One of the numerous bills aimed at bringing an end to the millions in tax credits given the wind industry in Oklahoma won approval this week in a State House Committee.
House Bill 2298 by Rep. Jon Echols of Oklahoma City was sent to the full house by the House Appropriations and Budget committee.
“This zero emissions tax credit bill will end July 1, 2017 for any turbine not in the air spinning,” explained Echols as he presented the measure on Wednesday. “While we have to admit wind has been great for the state of Oklahoma, it is an unsustainable path and it continues to grow in an unsustainable path that we are incapable of continuing to pay.”
Little opposition was mounted by other members of the committee save for the exception of Rep. Scott Inman of Del City, the House Minority Leader. He supported bringing an end to the tax credits but wondered about the timing.
“You’re stopping projects dead in the tracks based upon a promise the state made and the state will be breaking a promise. Aren’t you concerned what message that sends to every other industry that looks to invest in Oklahoma?” he asked.
His effort to amend the bill and extend the implementation to April 1, 2018 was not approved in committee.
“Many of the companies that take these credits do not pay any state income tax,” added Echols. “So it has a massive fiscal impact because it’s not generating state income tax revenue and we cannot continue to pay the payments unfortunately.”
He called it the most aggressive sunset bill to be considered by the committee.
“If it makes it to the floor, it’ll be the most aggressive that we’ll consider on the floor but I think it’s necessary and it’s time.”