The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

March 16, 2011

Examining tax credits: State House bill sets up task force to see if they fulfill intended use

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma House has passed a bill that would set up a task force to examine all state tax credits and determine whether or not they are fulfilling their intended use.

Rep. David Dank authored House Bill 1285, which allows the Legislature to look at each tax credit one by one. The bill now must be considered by the Senate before it is signed into law.

“I really do appreciate the fact that he is giving industries time to make a good presentation on why these tax credits are important,” said Curt Roggow, city of Enid and Wind Coalition government liaison. “(These pertain to) not just wind issues ... this is all tax credits the state offers.”

Some tax credits, including the Tax Credit for Zero Emission Generation Facilities, faced moratoriums over the last year as the state continues to grapple with a massive budget shortfall.

Tax credits such as these are significant to Enid because two companies have leased land in Garfield County to potentially build future wind farms.

Rep. John Enns chimed in on the positive nature of setting up a task force.

“I’m definitely all behind it,” said Enns, R-Enid. “I think some people say, ‘Why do we need to create a task force?”

“It’s very important. We need to make sure we have all the information we need. The tax credits that aren’t working, we need to get rid of them.”

Calls to Rep. Mike Jackson, R-Enid, and Dank, R-Oklahoma City, were not returned Wednesday. An emergency vote to enact the legislation on July 1, should it pass the Senate, also was voted on during Tuesday’s session.

The emergency vote was 81-9.

HB 1285 passed 93-3, Enns said.

Without the emergency vote, the law would go into effect Nov. 1.

Roggow said while the task force is looking at the tax credits, it will be important for northwest Oklahoma residents to give their input on what they think is working and is not working.

“Everything from aeronautics to repair of historic buildings to small business tax credits — there are going to be a wide variety of topics that will be discussed,” Roggow said. “So it’s important to state your case during this time.”

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