Bill to eliminate coal tax credits fails in Senate, colleague praises Sen. Allen for dedication to district
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – A bill that would have eliminated a $3.8 million tax credit for the coal industry and put hundreds of jobs in LeFlore County at risk failed to pass in the Senate today, thanks in part to an eloquent defense by Sen. Mark Allen, according to fellow legislator, Sen. Brian Crain.
Senate Bill 1613, which would have repealed tax cuts given in the mid-1990’s to ensure the coal industry would remain in the state after Wyoming offered more competitive rates, was voted down on Tuesday morning. Passage of SB 1613 would have jeopardized 1200 jobs in LeFlore County after the industry had invested more than $36 million in supplies and resources and other $25 million in payroll, but Senator Brian Crain, R-Tulsa, said Sen. Allen presented a compelling case that ultimately protected his district from further job and industry loss.
“I saw one of the most effective and admirable efforts by a state Senator in support of the people he represents this morning when we voted down the tax credit elimination for the production of coal in Oklahoma,” said Crain. “Sen. Allen has been exemplary in how he has worked with other Senators and members of the House in trying to protect his district. His efforts over the past weeks and months, combined with cooperation from plant owners that produce the coal ensured there were jobs in LeFlore County so people could provide health insurance, homes and employment for their families and children. Sen. Allen truly has the hearts of the people he represents in mind. I give the highest praise for him and what he did here in the Senate this morning.”
Allen said when discussions started several months ago on how best to generate more revenue to offset the budget shortfall, he knew coal would be considered. After meeting with industry leaders and Senate leadership, the coal industry has volunteered to be one of the first industries evaluated when the committee meets. He said by securing the jobs of 800 direct mining jobs and an additional 400 indirect industry support positions, the tax credit continues to function exactly as intended when it was put in place almost 20 years ago. There’s still a tax bill in the process that would reduce the coal credits by 25%. Allen indicated that industry producers and consumers have agreed to the reduction as part of an effort to compromise in filling the $1.3 billion shortfall the state is now experiencing.
“There are several tax credit bills up for review this year, but the tax incentive for the coal industry in Oklahoma is a perfect example of one that is working as it should,” said Allen. “This small tax credit reaps huge returns on the state’s investment in the form of jobs and stronger, healthier communities.”