The Peace House sponsored a full page ad in the March 1a edition of The Oklahoman and Tulsa World. Here is our press release explaining why:
Oklahoma Nonprofit Springs for Teachers
An Oklahoma nonprofit organization sponsored full-page ads in Sunday’s Oklahoman and Tulsa World calling for restoration of the seven percent gross production tax on oil and gas produced in the state. The two ads cost the nonprofit more than $22,000.
“We wanted to inform folks that Oklahoma oil and gas producers pay the lowest tax rates in America,” said Nathaniel Batchelder, Director of the Peace House that bought the ads.
“Because our Legislature reduced the gross production tax from seven percent to two percent, Oklahoma’s oil and gas producers are not paying their fair share to support teachers, schools and other vital services” he said.
Citing data from an Idaho study, the ads compared the total taxes paid by oil and gas producers in different states. Wyoming’s tax rate was listed as 13.4%. Texas’s tax rate was listed as 8.3%. Oklahoma’s tax rate was listed as 3.2%.
“Even if Oklahoma’s gross production tax rate were raised from two percent to four percent, it would still be the lowest in America,” Batchelder said.
Cuts to the state’s income tax rate from seven percent to five percent, and the cut to the gross production tax rate leave Oklahoma about a billion dollars short of revenues just ten years ago, according to economic analysts, Batchelder said. “Schools, teachers, and services to vulnerable and needy people have all been slashed,” he said. “Because state universities have less money, they must raise the cost of tuition to meet expenses,” he said. “This heavily impacts families least able to pay.”
“If the Legislature will restore Oklahoma’s gross production tax rate to seven percent, the revenue will be there to give teachers a raise and fund other vitally needed services,” Batchelder said. “Why should oil and gas producers pay lower taxes in Oklahoma than in Texas?” he asked.