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Dank: Without Tax Credits, Okla. Economy "Third World" (Sep 28, 2011)

OKLAHOMA CITY - Two more state tax credits came under scrutiny today when Oklahoma lawmakers reconvened the House Task Force on State Tax Credits and Economic Incentives.

The group has been examining the estimated $5 billion in tax credits, exemptions and deductions that are diverted from the state treasury every year, generally as an economic incentive to attract jobs.

During the second half of Wednesday’s day-long session, the lawmakers studied gross production tax exemptions for horizontal drilling, deep wells, and enhanced recovery methods.

State Rep. David Dank chairs the committee, and called oil and gas the backbone of Oklahoma’s economy. He said without the energy sector, Oklahoma’s economy would resemble that of a Third World country.

“This is a high-risk industry with potential high rewards and that is one reason the tax incentives we grant it make sense,” Dank said. “Oklahoma gets an enormous return from this industry. Gross production taxes are the third biggest contributor to our state budget.”

Dank also said the committee is looking at eliminating duplication in insurance premium tax credits given to insurance companies that maintain home offices in the state.

StateImpact Oklahoma reports Assistant Insurance Commissioner for Government Affairs Rick Farmer told the lawmakers Los Angeles-based Farmers Insurance was the company Dank referred to.

In a story published earlier this month in The Oklahoman, Farmers received nearly 20 million dollars through both the Quality Jobs rebate program, and the Home Office Tax Credit. The company directly employs about 14-hundred people in Oklahoma.


Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.


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