As expected, the Oklahoma House of Representatives voted 85-3 in favor of S.B.498, legislation that would eliminate the state’s current property tax exemption for wind developers.
S.B.498 – introduced by Rep. Earl Sears, R-District 11 – now heads to the Senate, which can either accept or reject the bill. With Senate approval, the bill would go to Gov. Mary Fallin, R-Okla. A rejection in the Senate means the bill would land in a conference committee.
Because the wind industry has willingly conceded S.B.498, The Wind Coalition says that Oklahoma’s legislative leaders have agreed to keep the state’s zero-emission tax credit – or more commonly referred to as the state’s production tax credit – intact until its full phaseout in 2020, allowing Oklahoma to retain a certain degree of competitiveness with neighboring wind-producing states.
Since 2003, the advocacy group notes, Oklahoma’s wind industry has become a major component of the state’s economic development portfolio with over $6 billion invested. With a minimum 20-year lifespan, wind industry-created jobs have resulted in over $340 million in wages. County governments and school districts receive over $40 million annually in sales and property tax revenue, and rural landowners receive $30 million each year in royalty payments. In addition, wind energy produces nearly 20% of Oklahoma’s electricity and provides commercial and residential customers with lower utility bills and long-term price stability.
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