A bill by Rep. Earl Sears, R-Bartlesville, that would reduce the amount of tax credits the wind energy industry receives and eliminate the credits in 10 years has passed the Oklahoma State Senate Committee on Finance.
In a 10-2 vote, the committee passed House Bill 1554 on Tuesday afternoon. Sen. John Ford, R-Bartlesville, who sits on the Finance Committee, voted in favor of the passage. The two dissenting votes were by Sen. John Sparks, D-Norman and Sen. Charles Wyrick, D-Fairland.
The bill is co-authored by Rep. John Bennett, R-Sallisaw, and Sen. Mike Mazzei, R-Tulsa.
According to Sears, the bill reduces the wind energy tax credit to one-fifth of a cent per kilowatt hour for new wind power facilities starting in 2016 and would end the credit in 2025. The current structure of the tax incentive is that the industry receives a half of a cent per kilowatt hour.
With the Oklahoma state budget facing a $611 million shortfall, Sears said it is time to have these tough discussions about which tax credits are working and which need to potentially end.
The bill now heads to the full Oklahoma Senate. If passed in the Senate, the bill would go to Gov. Mary Fallin’s desk.
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