Are Oklahoma tax dollars being wasted on too many tax breaks for oil, gas companies? (KFOR)

By Abby Broyles

OKLAHOMA CITY – State lawmakers have less than two weeks now to figure out the budget.

Many experts blame the $1.3 billion budget shortfall on the plummeting prices of crude oil.

Other experts say there’s more to the puzzle.

You’re seeing it in your kids’ schools and your rural hospitals.

Budget cuts are crippling core services in Oklahoma.

You can find experts on both sides of the aisle who blame the drastic cuts on the price of oil.

“The recent declines most definitely are because we’ve seen almost a 70 percent drop in the price of oil,” Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs President Jonathan Small said.

But others disagree.

“We’re suffering through a self-inflicted wound,” David Walters said.

Former governor and Harvard business graduate David Walters says tax credits and rebates for the oil industry were hampering our economy before oil prices plummeted.

Last year, our state gave oil and gas companies more than $600 million in tax breaks.

“We’re at a point now where we are losing more from tax breaks than what we’re bringing in from the gross production tax, that scale has tipped,” Oklahoma Policy Institute Director David Blatt said.

Oil and gas subsidies aren’t going anywhere under current proposals from Governor Fallin and Republican lawmakers, with the exception of one rebate for at-risk wells that’s being discussed at the Capitol.

Now, as our state is in crisis, some economists are making alarming predictions about our financial future.

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