Saturday, 13 May 2017 08:21

Capitol Greetings - windfall coalition Featured

Written by Representative Brian Renegar, DVM
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Two years ago I attended a reception put on by the .

 

 

At the time I thought this was a coalition to promote and develop non-polluting wind energy in Oklahoma.

 

When I got to the meeting Harold Hamm, the president of Continental Oil, was speaking. He was saying the financial crisis in Oklahoma was due to tax breaks given to wind energy. Boy that was the “pot calling the kettle black!” With the $1.2 billion tax credits (rebates that the oil industry gets each year), and $300 million given to wind power companies, it doesn’t add up. The wind energy companies in western Oklahoma have literally saved many schools with the ad valorem taxes they have paid.

 

The windfall coalition is really “big oil” and they should be honest and say who they really are. Earlier this session “big oil” (windfall coalition) proposed a gross production tax of one half cent per KW hour; that seems harmless until you find that electricity is being sold for 2 cents/KW hour. That equates to a 25% gross production tax on wind energy. We are relatively sure that electric companies would not absorb this tax increase but rather pass it on to the consumers. Last month I used 220 KWH at my home which would result in my electric bill going from $190 to $300. Our oil and gas people are only paying 2% in the first 36 months of production. It is a “spin game” that is being rigged by big oil.

 

In 2014 Oilmen won a big victory when legislators made permanent one of the juiciest tax breaks in the United States (gross production tax went from 1% to 2% instead of the 7% that was the original amount); schools meanwhile are cutting classes, going to four day weeks and cutting administrators and teachers to make up for a growing shortfall. We cannot say this is due to a drop in oil prices; in 2010 when oil was $100 per barrel, Oklahoma led the U.S. in cuts in education funding.

 

I talk about the windfall coalition because last week former Senator Cliff Branan, who is their executive director, wrote an editorial that appeared in my home town paper that seeks to impose a 4.5% sales tax on the turbines which would increase the cost of each turbine by $90,000. This, in turn, would increase the cost of electricity to homeowners. At the present time 25% of electricity in Oklahoma is wind energy. Mr. Branan is doing this to try to protect big oil.

 

HB1551 by Faught (R-Muskogee) is a bill that decreases the requirements for being a nursing home administrator; whereas they are presently required to have a four year college degree, this bill would only require a high school diploma, plus 10 years’ experience. That ought to give our seniors comfort. I contacted a former Representative who is now a nursing home administrator, to ask what he thought of the bill and he said “it’s stupid, the bill is being run so a nursing home owner’s mistress can become an administrator.” Only in Oklahoma!!!

 

HB2356 by Osborn (R-Mustang) rolls back the franchise tax return for businesses from July 1st to January 1st. The reason is it will bring in $12 million for this year’s budget. It won’t affect next year’s budget as it is “one-time money” which will start a deficit for next year.

 

I had the pleasure of hosting Hailey McClain, daughter of Brian and Julie McClain of Talihina, as a page here in the House of Representatives this week.

 

Romans 13:1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.