Wind Industry Keeps Incentives From Oklahoma

Many wind industry businesses are attracted to apply for an EIN in Oklahoma thanks to an industry incentive, one that has been under scrutiny by legislators. The incentive came under vote recently, and it’s been decided that, for now, the industry incentive will remain.

The vote, made on the 30th of April, followed a fierce debate by legislators regarding what Oklahoma state should do regarding the wind industry incentive, which has become the center of controversy. Legislators decided that Oklahoma should keep the tax break, which was approved quite a while back that a lot of them have now seen as overly loose.

The incentive allows refunds from wind companies, amounting to up to 85% of any income tax credits they didn’t use. A senator has described it as the state pretty much writing checks for wind companies annually, which was a plan devised with wind companies. The aim of the incentive was to lure many wind companies to apply for an EIN in Oklahoma, bringing their business with them into the state.

The proposed Senate Bill 888 would have cut that incentive, which some estimate would have saved the state  around $500 million to $750 million within the next 10-year timespan. The author of the bill, State Senator Marty Quinn, says that the incentive is a bad deal that the then-leaders of Oklahoma made with the wind industry, which was just a budding industry back then.

Opponents of the bill says that Oklahoma should stick with the promises they made to the wind industry. Republic State Senator Roger Thompson, says that quite a few companies use the expected incentive revenue as basis for their bank financing.

The vote on the bill failed, with 41 senators voting 23-18. The bill can still be reconsidered, but it needs to be handled at the Capital soon in order to get a final hearing.

The industry group, The Wind Coalition, had its State Executive Director, Mark Yates, says that wind projects¬† usually take about 12 years, so there’s nothing to be gained from the incentive program.

House Bill 3716 is another bill amending the incentive. This particular bill would eliminate credit refunds but allow credit acquisition to over a period of 2 decades, with people saying that it’s basically the same as ending it.