OK Democrats Take Tens of Thousands from Groups Pushing Energy Tax Hike | NTK Network OK Democrats Take Tens of Thousands from Groups Pushing Energy Tax Hike

OK Democrats Take Tens of Thousands from Groups Pushing Energy Tax Hike

As Oklahoma Democrats push for a major increase in the state's gross production tax on oil and gas, new analysis shows these same Democrats have a lot of money from special interests groups supporting this tax hike.

By NTK Staff | 05.25.2017 @12:47pm
OK Democrats Take Tens of Thousands from Groups Pushing Energy Tax Hike

A new analysis by NTK Network finds that Oklahoma Democrats pushing for a major increase in the state gross production tax on oil and gas have taken tens of thousands from liberal special interests supporting this tax hike.

In total, Democrat legislators have received $90,800 from groups associated with the “Save Our State” coalition and liberal donors openly lobbying to raise state energy taxes. The liberal “Save Our State” coalition has made increasing the gross production tax on oil and gas a cornerstone of its “Budget Blueprint,” and in turn, Democrats have made it a rallying cry this session.

The largest recipient of campaign contributions from these groups is Democratic Minority Leader Scott Inman, who has already announced his 2018 campaign for Oklahoma governor, having received more than $30,400. He and his fellow members of the Oklahoma Democratic caucus leadership have received thousands in contributions


(Oklahoma Ethics Commission, Accessed 5/24/17)

Rank and file Democratic lawmakers have also received thousands from these anti-oil and gas groups and donors:

OK-Table2 (2)

(Oklahoma Ethics Commission, Accessed 5/24/17)

For the full breakdown of contributions to Democractic lawmakers, click here.

Other pro-tax hike organizations such as the Oklahoma Policy Institute — whose top donor is liberal billionaire George Kaiser — are also backing the tax increase on oil and gas in the state. Kaiser has recently come under scrutiny as a recent report from The Washington Free Beacon exposed his history of avoiding taxes while seeking to hike taxes on Oklahoma oil and gas producers:

“A liberal billionaire who funds a group pushing for increased taxes on new oil and gas wells in Oklahoma has a history of avoiding taxes himself.

“George Kaiser, a Tulsa billionaire who was one of the biggest investors in failed Obama stimulus project Solyndra, is the top donor to a left-wing think tank that is leading the current effort to raise the oil and gas production tax in Oklahoma.”

Activists calling for an increase in the state’s gross production have also engaged in some extreme rhetoric in an effort to push their agenda. Oklahoma capital insider, Mike Cantrell compared Republican lawmakers to Judas, the disciple of Jesus who betrayed him:

“[I]f you sell us out, at least get the full 30 pieces of silver.” He went on to say, “Don’t sell us out cheap. These big companies are offering revenue. I call it political blackmail, but some say that’s just making a deal.”

As this debate continues, it’s clear that liberal groups are spending big money on their allies in the state legislature as they continue to press for higher taxes on Oklahoma’s energy industry.

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