One of the fun things about the Oklahoma budget crisis is that we’ve been able to watch two of our state’s most powerful and wealthy lobbying groups – the wind power and fossil fuel industries – fight like angry football players in the scrum for Oklahoma’s few remaining corporate subsidies and tax breaks.
So far, it looks like fossil fuel is going to come out with the ball. Under the watchful eyes of our Oil and Natural Gas Industry Overlords, Mary Fallin and the Oklahoma legislature have worked hard to eliminate massive subsidies for wind power companies on July 1, while at the same time, making sure that tax breaks for fossil fuel companies increase to $510 million.
To convince simpleton Oklahomans this hypocritical double standard that allows lawmakers to choose winners and losers in business is a good idea, the Overlords have turned to one of their most loyal and trusted servants – disgraced former OU football coach Barry Switzer. The King of the Wishbone, Storage Centers and NCAA Sanctions has appeared in a slew of recent local TV and Social Media spots blowing out hot air about wind energy subsidies.
Here’s a 30-second commercial:
Hmmn. I agree with Coach Switzer on this – giving tax breaks to the wind industry during a budget crisis is a bad idea. The subsidies worked. Wind farms are everywhere. The money would now probably be better spent on education or funding essential government services or subsidizing blogs.
That being said, I have two questions.
1. Why didn’t he mention all the tax breaks Oklahoma gives to the oil and natural gas industry? The industry and its shareholders – once again – receive over $500,000,000 in annual tax breaks. Couldn’t we use that money for education, too?
2. Why are they running these ads? As we mentioned, the oil and gas industry won the ball! Their game plan was run to perfection. Mary Fallin and Oklahoma lawmakers not only did away with wind industry tax credits, but they also kept the oil and gas subsidies in place. What gives?
This Paul Monies article in The Oklahoman will help explain:
The Windfall Coalition, which was formed last year by oil and gas executives, has embarked on a campaign against Oklahoma’s incentives for wind energy…
The advertising disclosures show executives connected to oil and gas and a former utility executive as part of the leadership of the the Windfall Coalition. They include Harold Hamm, founder of Continental Resources Inc.; Jeff McDougall, president and owner of JMA Energy Co.; and Pete Delaney, former OGE Energy Corp. chairman and CEO.
The Windfall Coalition campaign comes the same week Gov. Mary Fallin signed into law House Bill 2298, which stops the zero-emissions tax credit for new wind projects July 1. Projects before then will still be able to qualify for the 0.5 cents per kilowatt hour tax credit. The credit can be carried forward up to 10 years and is refundable at 85 percent of its value.
The Windfall Coalition wants lawmakers to put a tax on wind generation, saying wind generation in the state should be treated like taxation on oil and gas. Fallin proposed a 0.5 cents per kilowatt hour tax on wind generation in her executive budget, but the proposal hasn’t picked up much support at the Legislature.
Really? Barry Switzer, Harold Hamm and our other Oil Industry Overlords want to tax the wind now? Talk about poor sportsmanship?! They’ve already hung half a hundred on the wind industry by eliminating subsidies. Now they’re going for two just to rub it in. Show some class. Take a knee. You’ve won.
Anyway, the fact that Barry Switzer would agree to this isn’t a surprise. He’s best buds with Harold Hamm and has been loyal to big money, power and alcohol ever since he stepped foot in Norman. Seriously, pay Barry Switzer enough money and he’ll do just about anything… like appear on television complaining about tax breaks for one industry while the industry he represents gets more tax breaks than all others combined. Barry Switzer doesn’t want what’s good for Oklahoma. He wants what’s best for Barry Switzer’s buddies checking accounts. What a greedy sellout.