The following is a statement from Jeffrey Clark, President of The Wind Coalition, on Governor Mary Fallin’s signing of HB 2298.
“In public testimony in 2014, the wind energy industry committed to work with state leaders in phasing out incentives for wind energy development. These incentives have been tremendously beneficial to Oklahoma by attracting billions in private investment to rural areas, lowering electricity prices for Oklahoma consumers, creating new job opportunities, and providing essential tax revenue to rural public school districts.
“The incentives had served their purpose well by helping Oklahoma bring much-needed diversification to its economy. During recent economic challenges, the wind energy industry continued to expand its investment and its employment in Oklahoma. More than 7,000 Oklahomans now rely on wind energy for their livelihoods. This added economic diversification has helped Oklahoma weather the recent economic storm.
“Today, with the Governor’s signing of HB 2298, the final wind energy tax incentive was eliminated. As an industry, we are proud that these incentives worked so well for the benefit of Oklahomans and we recognized that, as all industries mature, their tax incentives should be examined and adjusted to reflect that growth and development. We hope that other industries will recognize the state’s challenging fiscal situation and follow our lead.
“Thus far, they have not. Instead they are attempting to divert legislative attention by demonizing ‘out of state’ investors, calling for double-taxation of wind energy, and fighting for the preservation of their own tax incentives.
“Governor Fallin has been committed to encouraging all of Oklahoma’s energy producers. She knows that, if it chooses to do so, Oklahoma can have a more stable, more prosperous, and more diversified energy economy. Her’s is a state rich in oil, gas, wind, and solar resources. It is blessed with innovators and entrepreneurs pushing the technological boundaries of energy production, energy storage, and energy efficiency. And, it has grown a uniquely skilled and talented energy workforce for whom a diverse energy sector means greater opportunity.
“The future is unclear. Until the anti-investor rhetoric emanating from some quarters of the capitol dies down, industries and investors of all types and in all industries will be hesitant to step forward with new capital intensive investments. We applaud Governor Fallin and the legislative leaders who all recognize that businesses require tax and regulatory certainty and stability to succeed. We appreciate their efforts to remind lawmakers that economies grow and succeed by attracting new investors and job creators.
“While the path ahead for Oklahoma remains uncertain, we look forward to working with these state leaders to help them keep Oklahoma competitive for future investment.”