Senators demand legislature to end corporate welfare for wind industry

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma State Senators Josh Brecheen and Nathan Dahm filed legislation Monday that would end check-in-the-mail tax credit payouts paid to wind energy companies who are exempt from paying income taxes. Oklahoma will pay $500-$750 million in tax credits to wind energy companies over the next 10 years. Approximately 93 percent of the payments will go to foreign and out-of-state shareholders.

Senate Bill 888 and SB 6xx would halt the annual $70 million payout, freeing up additional money for education, health care and other core government services. Both bills would only require a 51 percent vote to pass as compared to other ideas to place a tax on the industry, which require an almost unattainable 75 percent vote to pass.

“This $70 million annual corporate welfare payment must end,” said Brecheen, R-Coalgate.  “It’s time for the voice of the taxpayer to overshadow the voices of the 50 foreign and out-of-state paid lobbyists. Big Wind executives in Italy and Spain aren’t concerned about our taxpayers subsidizing them nor are they concerned about our students, teachers, hospitals, nursing homes, law enforcement agencies and other important state services.”

Sen. Dahm said it was not right to continue paying wind energy tax credits when the Legislature was raising taxes on other Oklahoma taxpayers.

“Oklahoma taxpayers have been asked to shoulder a larger tax burden to pay our teachers and fund our schools – but the wind industry is fighting to keep its sweetheart deals and taxpayer handouts in addition to receiving a federal tax credit, property tax exemptions, and more,” Dahm said.  “We should not be taking money out of the wallets of every Oklahoman by raising their taxes while continuing to cut a check for $70 million to the wind industry every year.”

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