Lawmakers' latest budget proposal includes taxes on wind energy
OKLAHOMA CITY — Officials in the wind industry said they've put $20 billion into Oklahoma, meaning they feel they need to be part of the budget discussion at the Capitol.
"We've brought the investment. We've brought the jobs," said Mark Yates, with the Oklahoma Wind Coalition. "We think we should be at the table for these discussions."
Wind energy advocates are speaking out as lawmakers confirm one piece of their proposed budget plan includes placing a gross production tax on wind energy. The tax could be 4 percent for 36 months and 7 percent after that.
The plan also includes capping certain tax incentives.
Yates said no one in the wind industry was part of the tax discussion.
"We believe it's irresponsible for the state of Oklahoma to have behind-closed-doors budget negotiations or revenue-package talks without involving the industries that you are trying to set tax policy and structure for," he said.
The tax structure is different for wind energy than it was for the oil and gas industry, Yates said. Creating a gross production tax for wind could place a heavy burden on the industry.
That's when executives wrote a letter for Gov. Mary Fallin, asking for a seat at the table.
"There's a lot of complexity to this issue that still needs to be flushed out, and we need to be able to be at the table discussing it," Yates said.
Fallin's office said some of the staff met with wind energy representatives about their concerns. They said the letter was sent to Fallin after that meeting.