After much collaboration between legislators and the wind industry, and in an effort to address state budget issues, Gov. Mary Fallin, R-Okla., has signed into law two measures aimed at reforming tax incentives and credits currently available to the Oklahoma wind energy industry.
S.B.498, authored by state Sen. Mike Mazzei and Rep. Earl Sears, will phase out the state's current property tax exemption for wind farms. S.B.502, authored by Sears and Sen. Marty Quinn, makes wind farms ineligible for a job creation tax credit currently offered by the state.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma's legislative leaders agreed to keep the zero-emission tax credit, more commonly referred to as the state's production tax credit, intact until its full phase-out at the end of 2020.
In a press release, the governor says phasing out some – but not all – wind energy tax credits will reduce the fiscal burden on the state while still ensuring that Oklahoma's wind energy industry continues to grow and thrive.
The Wind Coalition worked closely with legislators and the governor's office to craft the final agreement.
"When these tax credits were originally conceived, they were meant to support a new and groundbreaking form of alternative energy," says Fallin in the release. "Today, Oklahoma's wind industry is among the strongest in the nation and is an integral part of our power grid and our economy. Wind energy is here to stay. It no longer needs the same level of support and encouragement from the state.
"I appreciate the wind industry's participation in crafting this compromise and applaud the legislative leaders, especially Representative Earl Sears and Senator Mike Mazzei, that invited them to the table. These bills will ensure we accomplish the dual goals of supporting an "all of the above' energy strategy while delivering much-needed fiscal reform."
For more information on S.B.498 and comments from The Wind Coalition, click here.