Mike Terry, president of the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association, said the new tax rate will allow Oklahoma oil and natural gas companies to continue drilling wells in the state.
“There is competition every day to keep drilling dollars here in Oklahoma,” Terry said. “Maintaining a competitive business climate is essential, and a tax structure in place that encourages producers large and small to increase development of oil and natural gas in Oklahoma is an important part of that equation.”
Others, however, said the tax rate still is too low for too long.
“We think this was an ill-advised giveaway to oil companies that is going to be at the expense of our ability to adequately fund critical public services,” Oklahoma Policy Institute Director David Blatt said Wednesday. “There was clearly many in the Legislature who had strong doubts about this and acknowledged this was not the right thing to do, but the bill passed. It looks like it was victory of influence and lobbying power over the state’s best interests.”
The governor’s signature makes the tax change law, but it likely is not the last step in the process.
Oklahoma City attorney Jerry Fent delivered a letter to the governor’s office in which he said the bill violates the state constitution, which he said requires revenue bills to be approved by three-fourths of both the House and the Senate and that such bills should not be passed in the last five days of a session.
“Based upon your signing an oath to support, obey and defend the Oklahoma Constitution, I respectfully request you not approve HB 2562,” Fent said in the letter. “If you approve HB 2562, I will consider filing an action in the Oklahoma Supreme Court to stop this bill.”