The Wind Energy industry has worked with lawmakers in Oklahoma to end every state tax incentive for wind energy development. Despite this, anti-wind groups are working to raise taxes on wind investors even higher by removing wind energy from the many industries that currently qualify for the Manufacturers Sales Tax Exemption. Mark Yates, Oklahoma Director of The Wind Coalition, today spoke out on the continued assault on wind energy investors:
“The Manufacturers Sales Tax Exemption is offered to a wide variety of industries including oil and gas, agriculture, electric power generators, and manufacturing companies. It’s designed to promote capital investment in the state, adding to the ad valorem (property tax) base that funds local governments and public schools. That is why it’s seen as a key driver of economic growth and investment and why it is so important to Oklahoma communities.
“Anti-wind groups have targeted just one industry – wind energy – to be removed from the exemption. Ironically, the loudest voices in those groups have been those of certain oil and gas groups. They would keep the program for themselves, for coal power plants, gas power plants, and other energy producers. Does this make any sense? They should be looking at themselves, instead of spending all of their time focused on and obsessed with wind energy.
“Here is the fact, and a model they could follow: The wind energy industry came to the Oklahoma Legislature in 2014 and offered to eliminate all of the wind incentives offered in Oklahoma. On July 1 of this year, the last incentive (the Zero Emission Tax Credit) ended. A new wind energy project built in Oklahoma today pays its full tax burden from day one, immediately bringing much needed revenue to public schools and local governments. Workers and landowners pay income taxes on their earnings, suppliers and contractors pay income and corporate taxes, and project developers pay corporate taxes.
“With no incentives remaining, the relative burden borne by wind projects exceeds most new oil and gas projects so oil and gas efforts attacking wind should be seen for what they are – a diversion from their own issues.
“If oil and gas offered to eliminate the manufacturers sales tax exemption for themselves, they’d be credible. Until then, they are hypocritically attacking other industries who seek to invest in Oklahoma and that’s harmful to the state’s economic future. If we want a “level playing field”, the Manufacturers Sales Tax Exemption should be available to all energy industries, or none of them.”