Coal tax credits cost Oklahoma more than $60M in 8 years
As coal prices surge around the world, Oklahoman tax payers continued to support corporate welfare to the coal industry to the tune of 15k per year for every coal related job in OK - this has gone on 23 years. Do coal companies making huge profits really need taxpayer support?
Figures compiled by Oklahoma Watch from several sources show that coal tax credits cost the state more than $60 million in lost tax revenue during the eight years ending June 30.
That averages more than $15,000 a year for each of the estimated 500 people directly employed by mining companies or working for businesses that contract with the mines, such as trucking and welding firms.
The cost exceeded $10 million in two fiscal years, 2007 and 2008. The impact has declined since then because the coal credit was suspended for a two-year period ending in mid-2012, when benefits will begin accruing again.
Although the coal tax credits have been on the books 23 years, no one in state government could tell Oklahoma Watch how much they have reduced state tax collections over that time period. Until a few years ago, the Legislature never directed anyone to provide an annual accounting of their impact.
Administration of the credits is divided between the Oklahoma Tax Commission and the Oklahoma Insurance Department. That’s because some of the credits are applied to corporate and personal income taxes, and some to insurance premium taxes. The two agencies do not get involved in each other’s record-keeping.