Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release: October 21, 2014
Mazzei, Ford issue statements
following Tuesday hearing on wind power incentives
The Senate Finance Committee held
an interim study examining state tax incentives for wind power on Tuesday at the
State Capitol. Finance Chair Mike Mazzei, R-Tulsa, and Sen. John Ford,
R-Bartlesville, who presided over the hearing, issued the following statements
after the meeting was adjourned.
“It is important for the Legislature to develop policy that will create jobs and
encourage economic development for our citizens. In order to achieve that,
several industries, including wind power generation, have been offered
incentives. I believe it is important to revisit those incentives and ensure
the benefits for our citizens and state outweigh the cost, and that was the
purpose of Tuesday’s study.
“The wind industry has grown quickly in recent years, thanks to a five-year ad
valorem exemption and a wind power tax credit. That growth is projected to
continue. Information provided by the Oklahoma Tax Commission indicates the
total cost to Oklahoma taxpayers for these wind power tax incentives was more
than $44 million in 2013. It’s projected that by 2018 the amount could be more
than $66 million—possibly higher. This study gave us a chance to hear from
stakeholders so we can begin to examine whether some of those credits should be
revisited.” –Sen. Mike Mazzei, Finance Chair, R-Tulsa.
“Ad valorem taxes are the primary source of funding for many local government
services and school districts. Anytime property taxes are exempted, the state
then has the responsibility of making up that lost revenue through the Ad
Valorem Reimbursement Fund. The cost of the wind power exemption in 2013 was
more than $32 million and in 2018, it is projected to be nearly $48 million.
While the state puts one percent of income tax collections into the
reimbursement fund, that isn’t nearly enough to cover the total amount due.
As a result, tens of millions of additional dollars must be appropriated to
the reimbursement fund. That means fewer resources to fund core government
services including education, public safety and healthcare.
“I was very pleased that Jeff Clark, Executive Director of the Wind Coalition,
stated the industry understands our concerns and is ready and willing to come to
the table and work with us to keep Oklahoma competitive for investment while
addressing the fiscal issues we’re facing.”—Sen. John Ford, Senate Education
Chair and Acting Finance Chair for Tuesday’s Interim Study meeting.