Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release: May 15, 2015
Sen. Mike Mazzei
Senate gives final approval to measure ending
property tax exemption for new wind farms
The full Senate has given final approval to legislation
that will end the five-year ad valorem tax exemption for new wind
farms beginning January 1, 2017. Senate Bill 498, by Sen. Mike
Mazzei, R-Tulsa, and Rep. Earl Sears, R-Bartlesville, was approved
unanimously on Friday. Mazzei said the bill will ultimately save
approximately $500 million over ten years.
“This incentive was first enacted when Oklahoma was trying
to encourage the development of wind farms and the jobs that would
be created as a result. But now that tax incentive is costing our
state $44 million a year, and without adjustments it could easily
double,” Mazzei said. “Given our current fiscal reality,
the need for reform was clear.”
Sears applauded representatives of the wind industry for their willingness
to be a part of the process.
“The passage of this bill will help us in our journey in reducing
tax credits on behalf of Oklahoma citizens,” Sears said. “The
industry will continue to be competitive in our state as it moves
forward in developing wind power energy.”
Lawmakers have been wrestling with a $611 million shortfall for
the Fiscal Year 2016 budget, largely the result of off-the-top allocations
for specific programs as well as increasingly costly tax incentives.
Combined, these have reduced the amount of dollars available for
appropriation for state services even though revenue collections
have actually increased.
Other incentive reform measures have already been approved and signed
into law this session. One will provide legislators with independent
data on economic incentives, including estimated fiscal impacts
and assessments of whether incentives are achieving their goals.
Another requires that any economic incentive include a measurable
goal or goals when enacted.
“Incentives can be an important part of an overall job creation
effort, and I’ve supported their use through the years,”
Mazzei said. “However, as stewards of these public resources,
we must be willing to evaluate their effectiveness and make changes
when needed to better serve our citizens and ensure critical services
can be funded.”
SB 498 now goes to the governor for final consideration.
For more information, contact:
Sen. Mazzei: (405) 521-5675