Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release: January 10, 2017
Bergstrom files separate bills to cap wind
credit payouts, fund teacher pay raises
State Sen. Micheal Bergstrom has filed a bill that would cap tax
credits at $25 million statewide for electricity generated by zero
emission facilities, including wind energy, and another that could
use the savings to provide a graduated teacher pay raise over the
next three years.
“Teachers need a pay raise in Oklahoma,” said Bergstrom.
“At the same time we have another massive revenue shortfall,
which will make funding a pay increase difficult, so I authored
legislation to cap the payouts on our wind tax credits and my hope
is to use some of the money we save to begin funding that pay raise.
The two bills I have submitted would be a good step in the right
Under the provisions of Senate Bill 95, the proposed $25 million
tax credit cap for zero emission facilities would be effective for
tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2017. The Tax Commission
would allocate the credit under the cap, where it could be reduced,
depending if more credits are claimed than the $25 million cap.
Currently, there is no cap for tax credits for zero emission facilities.
In 2014, $113 million was claimed in wind tax credit, which included
carryover, but only $59.7 million was actually paid out to taxpayers.
Under SB 95, that credit would be limited to $25 million.
“We have good reasons to not only cap the wind credits program
payouts, but to close this program. In fact, the Incentive Evaluation
Commission has recommended doing just that,” said Bergstrom,
R- Adair. “Our program for encouraging the generation of electricity
through wind has been successful; however, especially considering
the difficult situation we find the state in, with an $868 million
revenue shortfall, we can no longer afford these overly generous
Bergstrom has also filed Senate Bill 97, which would give Oklahoma
teachers an incremental pay raise over the next three years. The
legislation would align Oklahoma public school teacher pay more
closely with average national pay schedules, which are outlined
in the bill. For example, an Oklahoma public school teacher with
a bachelor’s degree with five years’ experience would
earn $34,500 for the 2017-18 school year, $36,500 the next year,
and $38,500 in the third year. Bergstrom says he would like to use
the anticipated savings from the wind credit cap to fund the bump
in teacher pay. The provisions of the teacher pay bill are contingent
on the adoption of the wind credit legislation.
Bergstrom says the legislation he’s authored won’t
completely shore up the gap in teacher salaries, but it’s
“Unfortunately, the limit on wind credit payouts is not enough
to fund a $5,000 teacher salary increase in a single year,”
said Bergstrom. “Keeping that in mind, I have structured Senate
Bill 97 so that teachers will receive a $1,000 raise the first year,
and $2,000 in each of the next two years. By passing these bills,
even in a difficult budget year, we are demonstrating to the public
and to our teachers that Oklahoma is serious about education and
taking care of those who teach our children.”
***Please note the spelling of Senator Micheal Bergstrom and ensure
it is spelled correctly in publication. In this instance, the ‘e’
comes before the ‘a’. Thank you. ***
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