Oklahoma Policy Institute released the following statement on reports that state leaders are arranging a deal with oil and gas executives to extend the horizontal drilling tax break to all wells at 2 percent for four years:
Expanding this unnecessary tax break would squander our opportunity to invest in Oklahoma while the energy boom lasts. We are not securing nearly enough revenue for Oklahoma schools, public safety, and other services that are vital to our economy. Drilling is still booming in states without this generous tax break, while we give our prosperity away to out-of-state shareholders and ask Oklahoma taxpayers to make up the loss.
This bad deal to expand the tax break would be worse than no deal, because the tax break is scheduled to phase out naturally next year. The deal also ignores the will of Oklahoma voters who overwhelmingly say the tax break for horizontal drilling should be eliminated.
Whether lawmakers’ priority is to make investments in education, reduce income taxes, or anything else, extending this unnecessary tax break will make it harder. The legislature needs to reject this deal and insist on an agreement that protects the interests of Oklahoma taxpayers.