SB 888 a step in the right direction
By Frank Keating
When I was governor in 2001, the wind industry made many promises. It promised us jobs but very few have been produced. It promised to manufacture here, but manufacturing is done out of state. It promised money for schools, but education as a whole is suffering and the industry refuses to help.
The wind industry’s claim that we have a moral obligation to honor our promises to them is nonsense when you consider it hasn’t honored one of its original promises to Oklahoma. The tax credit was designed to give a jump-start to a wind industry in its infancy in Oklahoma. It was sold as a low-cost way to broaden our already robust energy and economic development program. What was promised to cost the state less than $2 million annually when I was in office, has soared to estimates of $930 million over the next 10 years.
Industrial wind has been presented many opportunities to help find solutions to fix Oklahoma’s budget gap. When asked to participate in the Step Up plan and HB 1010XX to support education, these multibillion-dollar companies based outside of Oklahoma threatened to sue and file bankruptcy.
Private equity firms, international companies and Wall Street banks fund these wind farm operations and they have no vested interest in the future of Oklahoma, other than to harvest our natural resources and tax incentives. It’s time to stop taking money away from education, roads and services Oklahomans need, to write checks to this wealthy industry. For example, did you know that wind subsidies for one turbine exceed the starting salary of an Oklahoma teacher, even with the pay raise?