The Norman Transcript

Opinion

January 4, 2014

Tax breaks scrutinized

NORMAN — The revelation that Oklahoma’s revenue projections are about $171 million lower than in the past fiscal year has some lawmakers looking at tax credits and economic incentives with a new frame of mind.

The Oklahoman reports the gross production tax break that energy companies enjoy on horizontal drilling could get a second look. Most production generates a 7 percent tax but horizontal drilling gets a break.

For the first 48 months of production, companies pay 1 percent. It was started in 2010 by lawmakers who were convinced that horizontal drilling was more of an experimental venture.

Nowadays, that’s how most of our oil and natural gas is produced in Oklahoma. The Oklahoman reports out of 172 rigs currently drilling in Oklahoma, 155 were involved in horizontal drilling.

Lawmakers will be under pressure to find more state revenue. House Speaker T.W. Shannon has discussed selling off some of the state’s land and buildings that are no longer used or could be easily replaced.

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