The Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association is critical of the budget bill passed this week by the State Senate, saying it could prove harmful to the oil and natural gas industry through the repeal of several gross production tax provisions.
OIPA Executive Vice President of Governmental Affairs Tim Wigley said the state has had no greater partner in prosperity than the oil and natural gas industry.
“Continued efforts to increase taxes on the oil and natural industry harms Oklahoma businesses and harms working Oklahomans,” he said. “With one-fifth of the state’s labor force tied to the oil and natural gas industry, jobs are put in jeopardy when business capital is diverted to tax revenue.”
The organization reacted to the Senate bill by stating oil and natural gas production and the businesses the industries that support it account for 25 percent of all state revenue.
“Tax provisions that encourage development of Oklahoma’s historic oil and natural gas fields are vital,” added Wigley. “The easy-to-find, inexpensive-to-product oil and natural gas is long gone. What remains are energy resources locked beneath Oklahoma’s red soil that are difficult to find and costly to produce.”
He said the programs eliminated in the budget bill are those designed to encourage the continued production of older oil and natural gas fields along with the discovery of new fields. Wigley said by continuing the programs, legislators could help ensure the “lifeblood of our state government continues to flow.”
In his statement, Wigley said neighboring states offer similar incentive packages, so Oklahoma’s government support helps keep drilling rigs and workers that run them in the state.