End wind subsidies for teacher pay
By Sen. Michael Bergstrom and Estela Hernandez

Voters rejected State Question 779 on Nov. 8, but Oklahoma’s classroom teachers still need a raise.

Surveys consistently show the public supports increasing teacher pay, even if they opposed SQ 779’s package of tax hikes and increased spending for other programs. Thankfully, there’s a better way to finance a teacher pay raise: end wasteful tax credit subsidies for the wind Industry.

According to the Oklahoma Tax Commission, $113 million in zero-emission tax credits were claimed — largely by wind companies — during Fiscal Year 2014. That $113 million could provide an additional $2,600 to the more than 42,000 classroom teachers in Oklahoma.

By ending tax credits for wind companies — 93 percent of which are located out of state or overseas in countries like Spain, Portugal and South Korea — the state would get more than half way to funding a $5,000 teacher pay raise. And this is if the cost of these subsidies were to stay at $113 million per year.

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