May 30, 2014 The Journal Record Guest Column Oklahoma Lieutenant Governor Todd Lamb: Since the Land Run of 1889, Oklahoma has been known worldwide as a place where entrepreneurs, pioneers and those willing to take on risk can put a stake in the ground. Today we reap the benefits of this heritage of rewarding risk.
Oklahoma is ranked as the best place to start a business, best place for job seekers and best spot for oil and gas investment globally. Other states and nations are competing to achieve what we have, however, and we cannot become complacent.
That’s why my recent tie-breaking vote to move forward House Bill 2562 was so important. By creating tax certainty, this new law encourages risk taking and promotes the subsequent economic awards for our entire state. Additionally, it takes state government out of the business of picking technological winners and losers as both horizontal and vertical drilling will be taxed in the same manner.
The measure provides a tax rate of 2 percent for all new wells for 36 months, after which the rate goes to 7 percent. It means all Oklahoma oil and natural gas producers, large and small, will have a permanent tax structure for every new well. This permanent rate gives oil and gas producers tax stability and encourages increased development of oil and gas in Oklahoma. This leads to more and better-paying jobs and ultimately greater state revenue.
This law is significant not only for large public oil and gas companies, but also for those trying to recover after several years of depressed natural gas prices and for small family companies that make up the majority of Oklahoma’s oil and natural gas industry. In reality, it helps the entire state as studies show one out of six jobs in Oklahoma depend on this industry. There are oil- and gas-related jobs in each of our 77 counties. It truly benefits the entire state.
Every Oklahoman shares a stake in the success of our state’s oil and natural gas industry. This bill helps continue our historic modern-day oil and gas renaissance. To ensure prosperity for future generations of Oklahomans, we must maintain our heritage of providing fertile ground for those willing to take a risk and invest in the future. The passage of HB 2562 does just that.