MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Opinion

July 13, 2013

Reconsider tax breaks, incentives

— It’s difficult to understand the reasoning behind giving tax breaks and credits to the oil and gas industry when the industry continues to return record profits.

Tax breaks handed out in 2010 have cost the state $321 million last fiscal year, Gov. Mary Fallin’s finance director said last week.

Secretary of Finance and Revenue Preston Doerflinger said legislators should re-examine the situation next session.

Doerflinger said tax rebates and refunds for drilling totaled $173 million and state tax credits, delayed for two years during the economic downturn, cost Oklahoma an additional $148 million in the fiscal year that ended June 30.

Much of Oklahoma’s economy is tied to the oil and gas industry.

There should be some consideration given to the industries that propel our economy.

A flourishing oil and gas industry means jobs. Jobs mean more state income tax and sales tax revenue for our communities.

But it is difficult to accept the premise when oil and gas companies continue to report record profits every quarter.

This comes when the economy has not improved significantly for many Oklahomans.

Some of the incentives were created in the 1990s to encourage horizontal drilling.

The practice, now commonplace, was experimental and costly before the turn of the century.

Doerflinger says the state’s general revenue fund is not receiving the benefits of a flourishing oil and gas industry.

State legislators are cutting essential services because there is not enough money in the general fund.

There are school districts that are relying on less and less money.

There are bridges to be fixed.

Government sometimes may need to help industry survive.

Government sometimes might need to provide the economic incentive to get businesses to invest in jobs in our state.

Tax breaks and incentives are a way to help businesses get started or succeed in sketchy economic times.

But profits and record profits are two wildly different scenarios.

It’s time for a review.

1
Text Only
Opinion
AP Video
Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment
Poll

Should a federal judge have the power to strike down Oklahoma's ban on gay marriage?

Yes
No
     View Results
Featured Ads
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Stocks