State production tax proposal: Big deal!

Oklahoman Published: May 9, 2014

Regarding “Energy giants float state production tax proposal” (News, May 4): Can you think of a better example of the old rule that “the best defense is a good offense” than the proposal by the giants of the Oklahoma energy industry to offer a “doubling” of the tax they now pay on horizontal well production? That sounds at first like a real sacrifice, but doubling 1 percent is still only 2 percent. Big deal!

The Oklahoman didn’t mention the tax rate for Texas wells, but that state had more than four times as many wells drilled, and I’d bet none of them was drilled in Texas because of its tax rate. Why not continue to give a short-term tax break to the horizontal wells, but make it 5 percent or 6 percent instead of a measly 2 percent? We’d still see the wells drilled!

George Kaiser has the right idea in recognizing how much the state needs money to improve education, law enforcement, highway and other state needs, and the value of helping those areas rather than giving a subsidy to the investors who own stock in the big three energy firms, most of whom aren’t Oklahoma taxpayers.

I can’t believe a four-year difference of 2 or 3 percentage points would keep anyone from drilling in Oklahoma.

Bob Fowler, Warr Acres

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