A billion here and a billion there of wasted money! Over the last many years, certain special interest groups have managed to ride the coattails of Oklahoma taxpayers to great profits.
As a free market capitalist, I am always in favor of entrepreneurs making tremendous profits when they provide great products and services to customers. However, I cringe when hardworking Oklahomans pay up big time for special interest groups to fuel the gravy train of subsidized revenues. And people wonder why we can’t pay our teachers enough or we’re still forced to require taxes on personal income!
The massive tax credits awarded to wind power companies over the last 15 years have cost over $1.5 billion, while these wind power facilities across the state employ around 400 jobs. We could have just paid these workers $100,000 per year and saved over $800 million.
And, it turns out that when the arctic blast in February 2021 froze Oklahoma, the windmills failed the electric grid and taxpayers were losing electricity. The cost of natural gas skyrocketed to absurd levels and the state ultimately decided to protect the shareholders of our utility companies by, you guessed it, hitting taxpayers with over $1 billion of debt.
The rise in interest rates and poor planning by the Corporation Commission has added more than $300 million in additional borrowing costs. Some for-profit natural gas distributors made out much better than the proverbial “bandits”!
Put these two gigantic subsidies for corporate profits together and taxpayers are shelling out nearly $3 billion. What a fiscal tragedy and ugly stain on the financial history of our state.