Column: Cut Wind Waste to fund Education

Here's an article I received that discusses an option to help fund education spending:
    • While some are asking where money can be found to fund core government needs in Oklahoma...ONE SIMPLE ANSWER is ending corporate welfare to the Corporate Wind Industry!!!!   If we don't do something truly meaningful this session ...another 70 million dollars is going to LITERALLY....be...Gone with the Wind ....and that 70 million could have gone instead to meet true Oklahoma classroom needs, etc.
We must not allow our legislators to say they "we will think about that tomorrow" ...next session or next week... concerning the corporate welfare payments made to wind...at a rate of 70 million per year AND ADDING UP TO $500-$750 MILLION in total payout TO WIND COMPANIES OVER THE NEXT TEN YEARS (ACCORDING TO TAX COMMISSION). We cannot delay in addressing this especially when more tax increases on working families continue to be discussed.  The time to stop corporate welfare payments to BIG wind is now...before working families are asked to pay more. There is a limited opportunity while teachers are at the capitol to overtake the influence of the approximately 50 industrial wind lobbyists who are being paid to convince legislators to continue  the annual payment of 70 million dollars per year after the state has already ZEROED OUT their ENTIRE income tax liability. The wind industry does not pay a dime in income taxes. Additionally, after they don't pay a dime in income taxes... then the taxpayer's money (taken from you and me)... is used to cut them a 70 million dollar check in the mail...and that 70 million is likely to be 75 million, next year. Oklahoma currently ranks #2 in wind power generation and that is because Oklahoma has the wind... not because of the tax credit.  Don't buy the paid for sales pitch that the industry won't continue to locate here... if not subsidized.  Oklahoma after all is where the wind comes sweeping down the plains!!! THE SHENANIGANS OF THIS CORPORATE WELFARE PAYMENT WAS EXPOSED ON THE SENATE FLOOR LAST FRIDAY... the entire SENATE debate from Friday can be found here. Once that link/site comes up (you will see a video on screen... so tap the triangle shaped play button)....then scroll the full 2 hour video length to the 1 hour and 17 minute mark ...to see the start of wind reform Amendment  proposed...YOU WILL SEE SOMETHING UNIQUE IN THAT DEBATE AS THE CORRUPTION OF PROTECTING SPECIAL INTEREST AT TAXPAYER EXPENSE IS EXPOSED... and "The Man Behind the Curtain" IS EXPOSED!!!    At 1 hour and 41 minutes the audio freezes...but if you will scroll to 1 hour and 56 minutes...it continues and goes until 2 hours and 5 minutes. If you scroll to exactly the 3 hour mark...you will find closing debate by Senator author of amendment. ACTION PLAN...WHAT NOW.... This coming Monday... SB888 by Brecheen will be heard in the House...in committee...at 4 pm in the House Appropriations and Budget committee.  It’s a similar attempt as to what was tried on the Senate floor Friday...(see video link).....true attempt at  meaningful wind reform (not a soft cap of the 70 million annual corporate welfare payment...but full elimination of payout).  The amendment to eliminate the wind corporate welfare payment will be added to SB888 by Rep. Coody.  The amendment is germane to the current bill and would eliminate the 70 million dollar annual refundable tax credit given to wind industry....after the industry is allowed, by our state legislators, to not pay a dime in income taxes.  Oklahomans must contact the committee members who will vote Monday...and encourage them to "vote for the amendment to be added to the bill eliminating the corporate welfare wind payment." Click here for that committee membership...so you can contact certain legislators on that committee...before the vote at 4 pm this Monday, April 9th. ALSO ...DON'T BE FOOLED by legislators.  ..Educate yourself on tax credit wind terminology by reading the below!!! THE OKLAHOMAN NEWSPAPER HAS REPORTED THIS WEEKEND...THAT HOUSE LEADERSHIP may put wind reform up for a vote this coming week… after pressure has been building...HOWEVER..... WATCH FOR THE WORDS "SOFT CAP" AND "CARRY FORWARD." The taxpayers need to be wary of the tricks, as the discussions continue. What types of wind reform are allowed by leadership and “those behind the curtain” (see Wizard of Oz video clip…) to come to the House or Senate floor matters.   What looks like real wind reform is most likely to be a slight of hand trick disguised as protection for the taxpayer UNLESS the taxpayer and teachers are up to SPEED.....wind speed. #1...After 16 years of corporate welfare payments to big wind there is no excuse to not end the refundable tax credit in totality ...the 70 million dollar check in the mailbox should be stopped...all 70 million.  That is the right solution and the fairest to the taxpayer after 16 years of PAYOUT. Ending the refundability characteristic is what WILL accomplish this. The word “refund" is a bit misleading.  It's called refundability but it's not refunding something the WIND COMPANIES payed out....it’s refunding the value of the credit they earned for every kilo-watt hour of electricity produced. They didn't pay a dollar in income taxes. They still get their income tax liability ZEROED out by ending refundability...but that is it...no more checks in the mail, while taxpayers are having their taxes raised in this climate. #2... Some want to discuss caps but be LEERY of discussions on capping the 70 million per year payout.  Capping the payout can be done in multiple ways and the easy way for the magicians to confuse the public is to place what is called a "soft cap" with "carry forward" on the 70 million dollar payout.   If you hear the word "soft cap" or "carry forward" then the taxpayers are getting duped once again.  A soft cap means they cap the payout.... to say 35 million.... HOWEVER... the 35 million they don't pay out ...totaling the 70 million they would otherwise pay out  (absent the 35 million dollar soft cap) is going to be allowed to be carried forward and payed out fully ... just in later years.  THE TAXPAYER STILL HAS TO PAY THE FULL AMOUNT WITH A SOFT CAP.  A soft cap just means big wind still gets the full corporate welfare payment ...they just have to wait longer to receive it. Oklahomans must demand the discussion on "soft caps" or "carry forward" provisions in this deal be exposed/banned from being accepted as the true solution.   If your legislators are going to do meaningful reform...say no to "soft caps" and "carry forward" payments in years in the future. #3 The one type of cap to the payout you can count on to be transparent and easily understood  is called a hard cap... a hard cap means that they are truly limited to the announced dollar figure of the cap...no tricks...no carry forward payments in future years.  If 10 million is the hard cap...then all wind industries turning in their tax credits to the state totaling 70 million...would only get a proportionate share of their credit. It would be worth just a percentage of its original claimed value. For example, a 10 million dollar cap would save the Tax payers a minimum of 60 million annually.  Those wind companies sharing the 10 million dollar check in the mail would only get a proportionate share of the 10 million...and that's it.