Facing state budget deficit, Oklahomans oppose continuing taxpayer subsidies for wind industry
Results from the latest SoonerPoll Quarterly indicate that a majority of likely Oklahoma voters believe tax subsidies for the wind industry should not be continued given the budget deficit facing our state government.
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Sixty-four percent (64%) of likely Oklahoma voters believe now is the time to discontinue the tax subsidies with only one-in-five still supporting them. Opposition was greatest among Republicans with 74 percent opposing the subsidies.
[box] The Oklahoma legislature has announced a $1 billion or more budget deficit in this year’s state budget, requiring cutbacks in education, healthcare and all state agency budgets. Knowing this, do you support or oppose continued Oklahoma taxpayer subsidies for the wind energy industry?
1. Strongly support7.72. Somewhat support12.33. Neutral/no opinion/refused [DNR]16.04. Somewhat oppose22.45. Strongly oppose41.6
Tax subsidies, which are used by the state government to stimulate growth in a particular industry, are an investment by the taxpayers in order to receive a long or short term benefit to all Oklahomans. According to the poll, voters now believe the wind tax subsidies are yielding a below average return on the investment when only 20 percent of the state's electricity is generated from wind turbines.
Increasing teacher pay and education funding in the state have been other important issues to voters lately, and when asked if the tax subsidies should be increased, decreased or continued, 54 percent believed the tax subsidies should be decreased since an estimated $38,000 to $45,000 spent per wind turbine is greater than the average pay of public school teacher.
Republicans, as well as self-identified conservatives and moderates were most critical of the tax subsidies for the wind industry.
Additionally, 64 percent of respondents opposed the wind tax subsidies when they learn that most of the taxpayer-subsidized power is being exported outside of our state for the benefit of people who are not citizens of Oklahoma.
"We live in a different world than when these tax subsidies were first passed," said Bill Shapard, founder of SoonerPoll, who conducted the poll. “With a $1 billion budget hole and cuts to education funding, Oklahomans believe it's time to eliminate these costly tax subsidies and focus on top priorities."
Additional results indicate that likely voters also believe wind generation facilities should be placed under the regulatory control of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission which oversees all other electrical generating facilities in the state except for wind energy. Sixty-five percent support regulatory control by the Corporation Commission while only 14 percent opposed it.
About the Poll
SoonerPoll.com, Oklahoma’s public opinion pollster, asked these questions of Oklahoma likely voters as part of the SoonerPoll Quarterly Poll.
The scientific study was conducted from February 9-12, 2016 with 410 likely Oklahoma voters selected at random statewide from a dual frame of both landline telephone and cell phones. The sample was weighted by age, congressional district and gender in order to reflect the Oklahoma likely voter population for a general election.
The sample reflects the traditional demographical profile of the Oklahoma likely voter with roughly half of respondents identifying as conservative and attending religious services once or more per week. The study has a Margin of Error (MoE) of ± 4.84 percent and was commissioned by the Oklahoma Property Rights Association.
This poll not only conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls but exceeds the standard disclosure with a Call Disposition and Rate Calculation Report. A complete description of the methodology can be found here.
The poll's Call Disposition and Rate Calculation Report can be viewed here. A beta version of the Weighting Table Report can be viewed here.