The irresponsible proposal to put sales tax on wind turbines

By Joseph Bush

Scott Inman, Democratic House Leader, had agreed to apply sales tax on wind turbines in his recently announced compromise to fund Oklahoma.  This proposal will generate little to no revenue going forward, and in fact will adversely affect state revenue. 

Oklahoma is famous for its wind.  Wind farmers have invested billions in the State.  Those investments put money the pockets of Oklahomans that own windy places.  The wind farms and the landowners pay state income tax on the income.  The employees pay income tax.  The wind farms pay huge property taxes that take schools off the failing State formula.  The landowners do get a much needed windfall, that they use to hire more cowboys, constructions crews and generally spread around our economy.  Subjecting wind farms to sales tax while no other state does so makes Oklahoma a bad investment for those wind companies looking to make a return on their investments.  They can invest their capital in other states and make more money.  This tax will dry up a much needed diversified industry, hurt our State revenue, and hurt our economy.

The fossil fuel oligarchs have demonstrated that they can set their own tax rates, close our schools, shake our earth, and pollute our air and water with impunity.  Enough is enough.  Oklahoma must be more than just what benefits Koch and Hamm.  We should be seeking to play as large a role as possible in the global effort to save the planet.

Electricity is a government regulated monopolistic industry.  Wind generation has been lowering the cost of electricity for all Oklahomans and the businesses we rely on.  This proposed sales tax is the height of irresponsible policy designed by and for the oligarchs behind our government.  It shouldn’t be a party issue, but which party is going to put forward responsible government policy?

Joe Bush is a partner at Tower Hills Ranch. 

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