Category: Novus News

Committee News – House Rules 2-8-12

HJR1089   By Steele. Sends to a vote of the people a measure that would prohibit the sale of tax credits, allow a person to find the identity of one that claimed a tax credit, and limit tax credits based on the amount one taxpayer could claim.

The Speaker said his bill gave a measure for tax credits and a guide for the creation of future tax credits. He said a tax credit had to have transparency, no transferability, sunsets, pre-approval, audits, a fiscal impact, and could not be considered in the last five days of the legislature.

The Chair noted that Dorman had two amendments and gave him the floor for discussion.

Dorman said his first amendment made the criteria non-applicable for tax credits for the income tax liability reduction of a person based on income or economic distress.

Speaker Steele moved to table the amendment; R. McDaniel seconded it. Dorman called for a recorded vote. The tabling motion passed 9-3.

Dorman said his second amendment exempted the income tax reduction credit for law enforcement or fire protection.

Speaker Steele asked if Dorman had spoken with him about his amendments. Dorman said he did not. The Speaker asked if Dorman understood that the tax credits had to meet certain criteria. Dorman said he knew of some who would argue that firefighters did not bring economic development.

Speaker Steele said the bill brought objective criteria for tax credits and moved to table the amendment; Dank seconded it. Dorman called for a recorded vote. The tabling motion passed 9-3.

Armes asked the Speaker if he believed tax credits were inherently evil. The Speaker said they were not, but without the criteria it was unclear if the tax credits were filling their purpose. Armes then asked about the future of transferable tax credits. The Speaker said if an entity claimed a tax credit, they had to be the recipient of the credit. He said the purpose was to eliminate those that did not provide a service to the state. Armes cautioned that they should be careful not to throw the baby out with the bath water, and the tax credits could hurt more than the help in the future. Dank conceded that some things had turned bad.

Dorman asked if they would preserve any of the wind farm tax credits. The Speaker said he did not want to put the state at a disadvantage, but they needed to be responsible with the taxpayer’s money. He said they needed to look at what the credit did to make sure it was not transferable.

Williams said he had been on both sides of the transferability debate and that he thought they could solve the problem by making sure a tax credit just created jobs. He asked if it was a work in progress in regards to the definition of “jobs.” The Speaker said the bill would have to go through both chambers, and he would fight to maintain the criteria that were set in the bill.

Glenn said he was concerned about wind energy losing their benefits. The Speaker said the bill’s purpose was to make sure they took politics out of the process.

Dank told the Speaker that they had ten task force meetings that was aired to the public and covered by various media outlets. He said he was disappointed in the lack of membership participation, but there was bipartisan membership of the committee. The members agreed on the criteria to avoid giving money away. The Speaker agreed.

Williams said that he liked what the Speaker had done thus far, but he wanted to know if the Speaker would allow language that defined jobs and job creation. The Speaker said he would entertain such language.

Dank moved do pass; R. McDaniel seconded it.

The Chair allowed Reynolds to ask some questions.

Reynolds asked the Speaker why he included line 14 on page two. The Speaker said referred him to page three, paragraph G, line 9-12 for the answer. Reynolds asked the Speaker to explain paragraph E. The Speaker said it established a limit for tax credits. Reynolds asked if this would be on a first come/first served basis. The Speaker said an expiration date would be set for the tax credit, and the paragraph gave it a monetary cap prior to the enactment. Reynolds asked if a person could take up all the tax credits. The Speaker said they would have to prove a credit created jobs before it was claimed.

The Chair allowed for debate, giving each member two minutes.

Dank debated for the bill saying they had a comprehensive task force that heard hours of testimony, and the abuse was beyond coping. He said it was taxpayer money, and they were not being responsible with it. They needed to have rules and criteria for tax credits and adopting criteria would help them spend money responsibility.

Dorman debated against the bill, saying he agreed the tax codes needed to be redone. He applauded Reynolds for the research he had done on the subject and said they needed to make sure they preserved credits that did good for the state . He said they needed the credits that helped Oklahomans in the lower income tax bracket and cautioned the committee to proceed slowly. He said he wished the title had been struck.

The Speaker said they were trying to establish objective criteria or tax credits and what was in the bill was recommended by the task force. It was responsible and prudent. He closed by saying that Mazzei was the senate author.

The bill passed 10-1.

via Committee News.

SENATE SELECT COMMITTEE ON COMPREHENSIVE TAX REFORM

SENATE SELECT COMMITTEE.

December 30, 2011

Dear Governor Fallin, President Pro Tempore Bingman and Speaker Steele:

As Co-chair of the Task Force on Comprehensive Tax Reform, I am pleased to provide to you with the report required pursuant to Senate Joint Resolution 61 (2010 Legislative Session) to study comprehensive reform for Oklahoma’s tax system.  The Task Force focused on three primary goals:

1.

Resolution of the issues surrounding taxation of intangible properties;

.

Changes to our tax code which would lower income tax rates and broaden the base of taxpayers to stimulate our economy and grow our tax revenue base for government priorities; and

.

Development of a framework for Oklahoma to become a “no-income tax” state.

Thanks to the hard work, dedication and intensive collaboration of the members of the Task Force, the following report provides recommendations to address each of the goals listed above.  In addition to four public hearings, a large number of Task Force members put in numerous hours of thought and effort during several work sessions to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the ideas and concepts that were presented to us by guest experts at our hearings.  Our work proceeded in a very inclusive manner to make sure that adequate consideration was given to all participants in this process.

As you and members of the Legislature consider these proposals, we hope that the taxpayers of Oklahoma will be your main priority.  The non–partisan Tax Foundation has rated Oklahoma’s overall tax structure number 30 out of the 50 states when assessing our job creation environment.  We can and must do better to shift our tax code away from special interest groups who benefit from obsolete and ineffective tax preferences and toward hardworking Oklahomans who deserve to keep more of their hard earned income.  If done correctly, tax reform will lower tax rates and broaden the base of taxpayers.  This in turn will raise the standard of living for all Oklahomans and also generate an increase in government revenues for top priorities such as education and roads and bridges.  

We believe that if the following recommendations are put into action, tremendous economic benefit will result for the state of Oklahoma for years and years to come.  We hope and respectfully ask that you and the Legislature give special time and attention to this report and our recommendations.  

Mary Fallin promises tax cuts, workforce development, pro-energy policy, better health outcomes, and a Capitol bond

Mary Fallin promises tax cuts, workforce development, pro-energy policy, better health outcomes, and a Capitol bond.


Published: 02-Feb-2012 

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin today (Thursday, February 2) sketched a bold tax reform leading to a phase out of state income taxes, but did not provide details; further, she indicated a growth trigger would be part of her plan, an aspect that could significantly slow income tax elimination or phase down.
Still, Fallin spoke optimistically of the effect of tax credit reforms, combined with “natural economic growth” to finance tax cuts that would still “protect the poor, help the middle class and fund core essential services.” She pledged the positive effects of tax reduction would reach “every tax bracket” and lead, among other things, to a simpler and fairer system.
Later in the day, sate Treasurer Ken Miller, in his monthly session with reporters on Oklahoma’s government revenue picture, was supportive of the governor. Without providing details, he characterized as “careful and conservative” the approach she is taking on tax reduction.
In discussion of broad policy – giving broad hints of the content in her State of the State speech coming up on Monday (Feb. 6) — Fallin said her priorities included not only further tax reductions, but also workforce development, support for the state’s energy industry, including natural gas, and a focus on better health outcomes.
Fallin seemed prepared to support a bond issue to finance repairs of the Oklahoma state Capitol, but appeared to cast a critical eye on all other bond proposals. However, reports of a possible $200 million bond proposal will, if accurate, meaning a higher pool of resources than what is needed only for the Capitol.
She noted, in discussion with CapitolBeatOK, that bond rating agencies had encouraged her to consider infrastructure “investing” through the state’s bonding capacity. Analysts in the state are anticipating a possible upgrade of the state’s bond rating, due in significant part to last year’s pension reforms.
In the workforce arena, the chief executive said it was “a huge priority” to meet the needs of employers for qualified employees. She observed that although unemployment is low, there remain workforce shortages in some areas.
As for energy, she revealed she is working with governors of other states to fashion a message to the nation’s automakers, that the manufacture of natural gas (compressed natural gas, or CNG) vehicles “at a certain price point” would lead to further conversions of state government fleets. She also touted energy efficiency programs in state government, designed to save millions of dollars.
Gov. Fallin decried Oklahoma’s poor health outcome indicators, saying poor choices, including smoking, are a drain on state resources.
Saying the state’s challenge was to “build upon the momentum” of the past year, the governor devoted some time at the briefing to a review 2011 policy successes. She pointed to the modernization and shared services efforts she contends will provide revenue needed to balance the budget and begin income tax rate reductions.
Fallin pointed to the “closed budget gap” and letting a tax rate reduction take effect as significant achievements in light of the fact that “there was $2 in the Rainy Day Fund when I came into office.”
In education reform, the governor against touted her support for a range of changes in state law, including a grading system for schools, and empowering local districts to fire ineffective teacher.
Fallin also promised to “stand up to Washington” in the future, as she did over the controversial Keystone Pipeline decision and challenges to President Obama’s health care changes.
The governor expressed satisfaction that Oklahoma had seen a net increase of 41,600 jobs in her first year, and was third in the nation in economic growth. She also noted the state had 42 percent more new manufacturing jobs than Texas did, and net in-migration.
In discussion with reporters, Fallin observed that continued tax reduction and modernization were critical to the state’s future. She pledged, in response to a reporter’s question about “broadening” of the tax base, “We’re not increasing any taxes.”
The governor spoke as part of the Associated Press’ annual legislative briefing.

Oklahoma House of Representatives – Home Page

Direct Link to This Story
House Speaker, Corporation Commissioner Praise SPP Approval of Oklahoma Wind Projects
PhotoCONTACT:
Jennifer Monies, Press Secretary
Oklahoma House of Representatives
Office of House Speaker Chris Benge
405-962-7679
jenniferm@okhouse.gov

OKLAHOMA CITY (April 28, 2010) — With wind energy development central to the discussion, the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) this week moved a step closer to realizing plans to expand the region’s electric transmission grid.

Acting on a motion advanced by Oklahoma Corporation Commission Vice Chairman Jeff Cloud, the SPP’s advisory Regional State Committee (RSC) voted overwhelmingly Monday to support a package of six new transmission projects, four of which would be located in Oklahoma. The entire package is projected to lead to an investment of more than $1 billion, of which an estimated $350 million or more would be in Oklahoma.

Tuesday, the SPP Board of Directors gave its conditional approval to the projects. The condition is that moving ahead with actual construction would be subject to first achieving Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approval of an innovative method to allocate costs of the highest voltage projects across the multi-state SPP region based on projected benefits also being derived across the region. That cost allocation proposal last week was submitted to FERC for its review and approval.

“Such new investment will lead to job creation and other benefits,” said Commissioner Cloud, a member of the SPP Regional State Committee. “And it also will strengthen Oklahoma’s position as an energy leader, building on its historic position as a major oil and natural gas producer by next expanding its role in development of clean, renewable wind energy that will benefit both this state and the region,” Cloud said.

On top of the SPP Board and RSC actions this week, the FERC’s cost allocation approval, which project proponents hope will be forthcoming within the next few months or sooner, would encourage additional investment in Oklahoma’s rich wind energy resources.

“Oklahoma is so blessed with natural resources: oil, natural gas, water, coal, solar and wind,” said House Speaker Chris Benge

Southwest Power Pool OKs power projects in Oklahoma | NewsOK.com

Southwest Power Pool OKs power projects in Oklahoma | NewsOK.com.

The big blow: Wind energy trends favor this state | NewsOK.com

The big blow: Wind energy trends favor this state

The Oklahoma Editorials Comment on this article 7 Comments

Published: April 16, 2010

Something winded this way comes.

In the space of a few days, OG&E announced plans to quadruple its wind power capacity, the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) said worldwide wind power capacity will rise by 160 percent over the next five years, and gains in the Dow Jones Industrial Average were linked to investor confidence in renewable energy and clean technology stocks.


2009 file photo – Huge steel poles are going up between Woodward and Oklahoma City to handle high-voltage transmission lines that will carry electric power from wind farms in western Oklahoma to Oklahoma City and other population centers. The poles are manufactured in Tulsa. Photo provided by OG&E

Multimedia

OG&E will spend $400 million on a 198-megawatt wind farm near Taloga. Also, the company’s new 121-mile, 345-kilovolt transmission line from Oklahoma City to Woodward began operating as March turned to April.

GWEC says installed wind energy capacity will

reach 409 gigwatts by 2014, up from 158.5 gigawatts at the end of 2010. In China, known globally for its reliance on “dirty” energy, wind capacity growth “is set to continue at a breathtaking pace,” the GWEC said. The country accounted for a third of wind power growth in 2009; Asia is expected to overtake Europe as the leading region for installed wind capacity by the end of 2014.

As the Dow average closed above 11,000, The New York Times reported Monday that “the rebound in investor and trader confidence seems to be taking renewable energy and clean technology stocks with it.”

Oklahoma once was an oil state and is now a natural gas state. But it ranks among the top 10 states in the potential for wind energy production and also has a high potential for solar energy.

The trends promise great rewards for places with fair skies and following winds.

Is Texas Writing the Book on Wind Power?

By PETER BEHR of ClimateWire

AUSTIN, Texas — Feb. 28, 2010, was a banner day for Texas wind to set the clouds — and electrons — flying.

In the Panhandle, gusts reached 47 miles per hour and wind generators delivered a record 6,242 megawatts of power to Dallas, Austin and other population centers. At 1 p.m., 22 percent of all the electricity consumed in the Texas grid was coming from wind.

To proud Texans like Public Utility Commission Chairman Barry Smitherman, such records document the state’s position as the “epicenter of land-based wind production” in the United States, if not the world, as the chairman put it.

At the end of 2009, the capacity of Texas wind turbines, reaching to the horizons of farm and prairie land, totaled 9,410 megawatts, well more than the combined total of the next three largest wind-power states, Iowa, California and Washington. Over the course of a year, wind power is providing 5 percent of Texas’ demand, and that would more than double if the state’s grid goals are achieved.

Is Texas the model for how expanding renewable generation and smart grid technologies could transform the nation’s utility sector? Or is the ornery independence of the Texas grid a telling example of how regional differences confront the search for national policies on energy? Evidence for both cases jumps out from the Lone Star State.

It clearly is center stage displaying the engineering, industry and political challenges of a large-scale build-out of wind, as called for by President Obama and his party’s leaders in Congress. “It is a laboratory, if you like, a pilot, a test case,” says Gürcan Gülen, senior energy economist at the University of Texas, Austin.

The state’s pioneering electricity deregulation statute in 1999 included, almost as an afterthought, a requirement that Texas develop 2,000 megawatts of wind power by 2009.

To prime the market, it created an energy trading program requiring power retailers to acquire — and then retire — renewable energy credits. Texas raced past that first renewable energy milestone in 2005, four years ahead of schedule, and is closing in on the new goal of 10,000 megawatts of renewable energy by 2025.

More than half the states now have renewable energy mandates or goals, but Texas was at the front of the pack.

Looking to Texas for answers

Deregulation in Texas has created competitive electricity markets at wholesale and retail levels that, while suffering some “tortuous” growing pains, as one expert put it, have invited innovation and experimentation. Millions of smart electric meters are being installed throughout the state. Austin is the site of the one of the nation’s primary federal smart grid experiments, the Pecan Street Project, testing whether utilities can profitably switch from selling kilowatts to conserving them.

(more…)

OG&E opens wind power transmission lines

The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

April 9, 2010

OG&E opens wind power transmission lines

By JAY F. MARKS

The Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY — Transmission lines carrying electricity generated by wind are now open from Woodward to Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma Gas and Electric announced Tuesday it has turned on its new 121-mile Windspeed transmission line that connects wind farms in northwestern Oklahoma to OG&E’s power grid.

Company officials called the line a vital pathway for wind power produced in northwest Oklahoma. It connects wind farms in that area to OG&Es power grid.

“This is an important milestone in the ongoing development of renewable energy in our state,” said Pete Delaney, OGE Energy Corp. chairman, president and CEO. “The new line supports a more robust build-out of Oklahomas wind potential; producing revenue for landowners, creating jobs, increasing tax revenues in northwestern Oklahoma, and delivering renewable energy to Oklahoma consumers.”

Delaney said the $200 million project, which was approved by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission in 2008, was completed on time and on budget.

OG&E customers paid for construction of the new power line with a monthly charge averaging about $1.40 a month, company spokesman Brian Alford said.

The transmission line runs from northwest Oklahoma City to Woodward. It connects OG&Es new extra-high-voltage substation near Woodward with the companys existing transmission grid.

The new Woodward substation also will serve as a renewable energy transmission hub as more wind farms are developed in the area.

The Southwest Power Pool, a regional organization that manages transmission in Oklahoma, Kansas and parts of Texas, New Mexico, Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana, could add two more lines: one connecting Woodward to the Panhandle and another north to Kansas.

OG&E has about 777,000 customers in its 30,000-square-mile service area in Oklahoma and western Arkansas.

via OG&E opens wind power transmission lines » The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK.

Keeping wind power green

GOV. BRAD HENRY

EDMOND — Oklahoma’s potential to produce wind power is abundant, and new wind farms in development prove that our current wind energy production is only the beginning. Wind energy offers great economic development opportunities for Oklahoma, while also producing clean and renewable energy.

As we develop this vital state resource, though, care is being giving to protect Oklahoma wildlife that may be affected by wind farm development.

In particular, the lesser prairie chicken, a species that is a candidate for federal listing as endangered, lives in many areas suitable for wind farms. The lesser prairie chicken avoids tall structures that can serve as perches for predators. Construction of wind turbines and power transmission lines can cause habit loss for a species already facing challenges. Federal listing of this once widespread game bird would present major challenges to future wind development in our state.

The responsible development of wind power in Oklahoma led to the creation of the Oklahoma Lesser Prairie Chicken Spatial Planning Tool. The model was developed by Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, the Oklahoma Secretary of the Environment, the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife and other agencies and organizations.

The tool will help determine areas where development will least impact the lesser prairie chicken and help set priorities for areas of prairie chicken habitat restoration and recovery.

Partners from the private sector also play an important role in this mission. Last year, OG&E invested $3.75 million to offset the impact of the OU Spirit wind farm on local wildlife. The funds will be used by the Department of Wildlife Conservation to protect, enhance and restore habitat through acquisition and conservation agreements.

Green energy promises greater energy independence for the U.S., a cleaner environment and an economic boost for Oklahoma. Developing these resources, though, must be done responsibly. With state and federal agencies, conservation groups and private industry working together, we can ensure that Oklahoma’s precious natural resources, and its abundant wildlife, will be enjoyed by generations to come.

GOV. BRAD HENRY may be reached via his Web site at www.governor.ok.gov.

via Keeping wind power green » The Edmond Sun.

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