State Chamber targets Mike Reynolds for opposing corporate welfare

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The Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce has put State Rep. Mike Reynolds (R-OKC) on its "most wanted" list for his opposition to tax credits that seem to be more about rewarding the politically connected than helping Oklahoma's economy grow. The Chamber's website highlights two Reynolds quotes:

That's what [the Quality Jobs Program] does is it's wealth redistribution, and we can talk all day long about how it creates jobs. It doesn't create jobs. It rearranges jobs. It has to do that by artificially incentivizing certain companies with your taxpayer dollars. Where else would they get the money? It didn't grow on trees. It didn't come in a federal grant. We didn't find a gold mine and say "all the gold in this mine is going to quality jobs". Somebody found a gold mine when they passed the Quality Jobs Act, and that's for sure.

--Rep. Mike Reynolds debating against SB 154, Updating Quality Jobs Act

"It's not for small business, it's for... very selected, well connected, highly lobbied, huge campaign contribution, big business. We can see very clearly a pattern to where these tax credits exist. ...it's legalized socialism."

--Mike Reynolds debating against HB 1008

To try to marginalize Reynolds, the Chamber placed his quotes next to Democrat legislators calling for more regulations and outright state acquisition of industry for relocation. Reynolds advocates neither position.

On HB 1008, Reynolds joined 22 other Republicans in opposition to removing "the aerospace incentives from the list of credits on moratorium as of July 1 this year." The moratorium was already set to expire on July 1, 2012, one year later.

SB 154 is still working its way through the system. It seems to make the Quality Jobs Act retroactive in some way to include jobs that otherwise would not have qualified, but the language is obscure.

Reynolds is right to be concerned about tax credit abuse in Oklahoma and about the misuse of the state's power to tax to pick economic winners and losers. Well-intentioned programs designed to give businesses an incentive to move to Oklahoma or expand may do genuine good in many cases, but they can also be gamed by the unethical.

Reynolds is not anti-business or anti-growth. He believes that the best way to encourage business and growth is to reduce the burden of government on everyone, not just specially-targeted industries. That's a respectable position, even if you disagree with it. It certainly doesn't warrant his inclusion on the State Chamber's target list.

CORRECTION: An addendum to this piece incorrectly identified the previous positions held by Chamber CEO Fred Morgan, who was a State Rep. and House Minority Leader. My apologies for the error.

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2 Comments

Bob said:

State Representative Mike Reynolds has a long history of valiantly standing up to Oklahoma's greedy ruling elite, and has thereby earned their undying opprobrium.

With no limits to the greed of the beneficiaries of these outlandish state tax credits, Oklahoma's richest families have garnered $100,000,000's in state tax credits for in too many cases creating ZERO jobs. Refer to www.prowlingowl.com for the evil machinations of Oklahoma's Robber Baron Families, like Tulsa's own Kaiser Family.

His Bank of Kaiser claimed $10,000,000's in state income tax credits for making LOANS, a financing category that was specifically prohibited by the state income tax credit "jobs" legislation, because a loan was not considered a true "investment".

In the last general election, Devon Energy's Nichols and Chesapeake Energy's Aubrey McClendon gave the state campaign limit maximum to try and defeat Representative Mike Reynolds.

He still won handily.

This next election, he'll face the additional handicap of having been censured by his fellow REPUBLICAN controlled state House of Representatives over his visceral reaction to an over-the-top sermon by a cuckoo bird minister giving an invocation to the State House.

The state tax payers need Representative Mike Reynolds.

sidburgess Author Profile Page said:

Mike is certainly correct to say that people don't want an excess of government on their backs and I agree with him on the tax credit issue. When we look at just the hundreds of sales tax exemptions, it is no wonder that our state has budget shortfalls.

However, it is critical to note that getting rid of them wont create an attractive business environment alone. More and more companies care a great deal more about quality of life issues for their employees. Agree with their position or not, that is certainly the trend.

As we slash tax credits, I want to see more of that money to go to fix our transportation assets and waterways.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on May 11, 2011 1:37 AM.

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