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tax credits

The Oklahoma Incentive Evaluation Commission endorses its consultants’ recommendations to retain 10 state business incentives that are reducing state revenues.
Warren Vieth / Oklahoma Watch

A state oversight panel voted Tuesday to retain 10 business incentives after its consultants rescinded a recommendation to repeal one of them and the state commerce secretary intervened to rescue another.

The panel’s actions provided an immediate reprieve to the Oklahoma Film Enhancement Rebate Program and the state’s Industrial Access Road Program. But they could provide more momentum to efforts to rein in a fast-growing wind-power tax credit. All of the proposals would require legislative approval.

The Arbuckle Mountain Wind Farm in southern Oklahoma.
Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

State officials will consider recommending cuts to tax credits Tuesday as they look for a way to bring more money into the state.

Oklahoma's Incentive Evaluation Commission is meeting at 1 p.m. at the state Capitol to discuss what will go into a final report it plans to submit to lawmakers and Gov. Mary Fallin next month.

Dan Ellis with Comfortworks Inc. explains the installation of a geothermal heat pump at the Gulfport Energy Corp. headquarters in Oklahoma City.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

Several Oklahoma businesses are joining a national energy trade group to lobby Congress to extend tax credits for renewable energy.

Representatives from the geothermal heat pump sector want an extension of tax credits that are set to expire in December. Members of the geothermal industry say extending the tax credit will allow their businesses to keep growing.

Oklahoma Sending Cash To Companies That Pay No Income Tax

May 28, 2016
money, cash
Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

Some state lawmakers are justifying their decision to curtail a tax credit for the working poor by declaring that the state shouldn’t be subsidizing people who owe no income taxes in the first place.

But the state has several tax breaks on the books that do essentially the same thing for businesses. Through a combination of direct refunds, rebates and tax credit “transfers,” companies with no income tax liability are receiving cash subsidies.

Budget Crisis Clips Credit For Oklahoma's Working Poor

May 22, 2016
Tammy Greenman of Oklahoma City uses a bullhorn to ask Gov. Mary Fallin to call off safety net cuts, including partial elimination of the Earned Income Tax Credit.
Warren Vieth / Oklahoma Watch

In their final rush to contend with Oklahoma’s budget crisis, state lawmakers have voted to curtail a tax credit described by advocates as one of the best programs ever devised to help the working poor.

The measure to eliminate the “refundable” portion of Oklahoma’s Earned Income Credit would reduce the income of about 200,000 low-income households by $147 a year on average, according to a recent data study.

NextEra Renewable Energy Resources' wind farm near Elk City, Okla.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

A $1.3 billion budget hole and state funding crisis fueled by low crude prices has polarized a debate on the state’s financial support of wind-generated electricity.

State seal in Capitol rotunda
Serge Melki / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Senate leaders say they're still discussing changes to state tax credits and exemptions, despite the fact that legislation with most of those changes still hasn't been heard on the chamber's floor. Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, told reporters this week lawmakers are continuing to work through their caucuses to make sure the members have the details about legislation dealing with tax credits and off-the-top spending.

Workers erect scaffolding outside the First National Center building in downtown Oklahoma City.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

On Tuesday, the Oklahoma City Council discussed making changes to the tax increment finance district, or TIF, for the area affected by MAPS projects.

The council wants to increase the budget for the downtown MAPS district – adding $40 million to bring the total to $165 million.

“The says that the investment so far has already brought in $1.8 billion in private money, and adding the $40 million would bring in another $1 billion,” said The Journal Record’s managing editor Adam Brooks.

Lawmakers gather in the House chamber at the state Capitol before Gov. Mary Fallin delivers her 2016 State of the State address.
Kate Carlton Greer / KGOU

Four stories that were trending or generated discussion online or on KGOU’s social media platforms during the past week.

wind turbine
Tamsin Slater / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

U.S. Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma, wants to end a federal tax subsidy for the production of electricity through wind power. The freshman Republican introduced legislation that would not allow any more companies to qualify for the tax credit after 2019.

A sales tax exemption approved in 2005 applies to electricity used in "waterflood" oil recovery projects in older fields, such as the Glenn Pool field shown above, with Sapulpa in the distance.
Oklahoma Historical Society

An obscure sales tax break authored by Oklahoma’s Senate leader is subsidizing an expensive form of enhanced oil recovery for seven companies, including the senator’s employer.

The tax break on electricity used to power old “waterflood” recovery projects was authored in 2005 by now-Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa.

The first company to apply for and receive the exemption was Uplands Resources Inc. of Tulsa. At the time, Bingman was the company’s land manager. He currently works there as vice president of land and operations.

State Rep. Earl Sears, R-Bartlesville
okhouse.gov

Because of a failure to write clear laws, Oklahoma leaders say, the state paid more than $90 million to insurance companies it shouldn’t have over the past five years in the form of rebates.

The rebates were paid to insurance firms that provide workers’ compensation coverage in Oklahoma and that had paid assessments required by state law to a fund called the Multiple Injury Trust Fund.

Provided / Oklahoma Senate

The Oklahoma Senate approved two bills Wednesday designed to provide more scrutiny and oversight of some of the hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of state tax credits. Both bills by Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman (R-Sapulpa) now go to the House for consideration.

Oklahoma State Senate

Two bills that would require stricter oversight of various state tax credits and incentives have cleared a Senate committee.

The Senate Finance Committee approved both bills by Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman on Tuesday. The measures now proceed to the full Senate.

A wind farm in Ellis County in western Oklahoma.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma Representative Earl Sears, is planning to file legislation modifying tax credits and incentives used by wind energy developers.

The legislation by Sears, R-Bartlesville, would only affect new wind projects and would target three tax credits used by the wind industry: Zero Emission Energy Generation, the five-year ad valorem exemption for manufacturers and other firms, and investment tax credits,  eCapitol’s Shawn Ashley reports:

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