Oklahoma Democrats were exposed for their abandonment of the working poor, in Thursday's legislative session. The party which claims to champion the cause of 'the little guy' had extreme difficulty in justifying their effort to carve out $74 million dollars for the wind lobby. This lobby is extremely active and seeks to prop up politicians who will keep the cash coming to them.
There is no economic justification for 90% of them to rationalize the corporate welfare because the Democrat politicians are almost completely from urban districts, but the wind farms are completely rural.
A few rural legislators rationalize that the wind farms pay so much in property taxes to a few school districts, who in turn are so wealthy that the state dept. of education no longer gives aid to those schools.
From Gov. Frank Keating:
“It’s time to end cash subsidies for wind production in Oklahoma. The wind production subsidy program has grown wildly beyond what was presented to me and lawmakers when we first approved the credits. As policymakers, when we realize that an act of government isn’t working or has gone way beyond what was intended, it is our duty to change it.” said former Gov. Frank Keating, who signed the first iteration of wind production tax credits when he served as the 25th Governor of Oklahoma.
In addition to the Democrats who fought to keep corporate welfare to wind, some Republicans with no wind facilities also argued for the giveaway. Baker, Bush, Cockroft, Hardin, McEachin, Montgomery, Vaughn, & Worthen voted to keep the corporate wind subsidies. Fetgatter, Leslie Osborn were two prominent debaters for corporate welfare.
“Protecting millions of Oklahomans from being forced to unjustly subsidize a wasteful and now unnecessary government program is far superior and morally right rather than adhering to a flawed scheme. The drafting of SB 888 treats refundable wind subsidies in a prospective manner, just as lawmakers have done with the constitutional elimination of the refundability of the Oklahoma Earned Income Tax Credit.”
Former Oklahoma Governor, Frank Keating
“Since 2015, policymakers at the state Capitol have raised taxes and annual revenue on Oklahomans by $1.1 billion—even raising Oklahomans’ personal income taxes since 2016 by at least $185 million annually alone. Given how much in taxes have been raised on millions of Oklahomans who don’t have an army of well-paid lobbyists to represent them at the state Capitol, it’s unconscionable that Oklahoma would continue the kind of crony-capitalist policy that is a major part of state government’s over-spending addiction that got us into this problem in the first place,” said Dr. Tom Coburn, who served as a United States Senator for Oklahoma.
“I encourage Oklahoma State Senators to cut through the hyperbole and scare tactics presented by crony capitalists who want to continue to massively benefit at the expense of millions of Oklahoma taxpayers. A vote in favor of SB 888 is the exact kind of reform and oversight that lawmakers can support to keep their promise to voters to protect them from wasteful government spending. Wind production in Oklahoma is receiving more than $110 million a year in subsidies from state taxpayers. With some estimates showing state subsidies for one wind turbine exceed the starting salary of an Oklahoma teacher even after the legislatively enacted pay raise, this boondoggle must end.”
Former US Senator, Tom Coburn