Friday, September 24, 2021

Perspective: Here's Why the Budget Bill is Bad for Oklahoma


Budget Bill is Bad for Oklahoma
By Adam Maxey 

I can’t give you the exact reason why so many in the Beltway have a vendetta against our way of life in the heartland, but I can unequivocally say that the freedom and opportunity offered in the Sooner State is worth fighting for. Among many portions of the forthcoming $3.5 trillion federal budget bill, two pieces stand out to me as a slap in the face to Oklahoma. 

A carbon border tax is just a ruse, a la regional haze, when the U.S. EPA attempted to impose their top-down energy preferences on Oklahoma for imperceptible visibility improvements. It’s an attempt to tax American companies to such an extent that they make drastic changes to their global supply chains. That the coastal elites have the audacity to believe they can force other countries to comply with their environmental wishes by destroying U.S. business is mind-boggling. Shuffling supply chains to this extent will put U.S. companies at a severe disadvantage against global competition through massive uncertainty and increased costs. This is a recipe for lost jobs and further increases in the price of goods and services we use every day. 

Second, the proposed “methane reduction fee” is a direct attack on one of Oklahoma’s top exports: natural gas. The technologies that Oklahomans have pioneered to power the U.S. Shale Revolution and create our own energy independence. According to the U.S. Department of Energy “a world without hydraulic fracturing, in 2025, the U.S. economy would have 7.7 million fewer jobs, $1.1 trillion less in gross domestic product (GDP), and $950 billion less in labor income.” This is a natural gas tax, by terming this a fee, Democrats in Congress are hiding behind semantics in order to rush these bad ideas into law.  This all begs the question, why does the Biden Administration want Americans to lose their jobs or earn less money at the jobs they are lucky enough to keep?

Further punishing Oklahoma’s production and use of affordable, reliable energy in the partisan budget bill is a California Electricity Standard, which adopts the worst elements of the failed cap-and-trade bill and the Obama administration’s so-called “Clean Power Plan.” It would force Oklahoma’s share of electricity generated by natural gas and coal from its current 60 percent to 20 percent or less by 2030, relying on a trading scheme. It will increase electricity prices and blackouts, cost millions of jobs, and do little for the environment.

The Biden administration has been stumbling since the start. Their strategy to combat government spending driven inflation is to cancel domestic energy projects and then ask OPEC for help. Vindictive policies like these  will only exacerbate energy poverty and economic hardship in communities that have been hit the hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. All the while we are being told that these unprecedented levels of government interference are supposed to help those in need. It just doesn’t add up.

In the not-too-distant past, a president stood before Congress and declared “the era of big government is over” and received bipartisan applause. Unfortunately, the tables have turned and in 2021 the White House is looking for every opportunity to reinstitute big government for generations to come. 

Thankfully, our delegation in Washington is standing up for Oklahomans. Like the hardworking individuals they represent our Oklahoma leaders believe in free markets and encourage the entrepreneurship and innovation that have done the most to advance our standard of living since the advent of electricity itself. The overbearing top-down policies being proposed are a threat to our way of life in Oklahoma. Tax increases on Oklahoma job creators will stifle opportunity and neuter our economic standing across the globe. As we continue to march towards the standard set by Gov. Kevin Stitt to become a Top Ten State, we are doing so with an economy that is reliant on a strong energy sector. A congressional spending spree will do nothing but hamper our state’s progress. Oklahomans have long believed in fiscal restraint and government prudence, let’s hope that Washington can learn a lesson from the “flyover states” they so easily forget and trade this budget proposal for one that reigns in spending and respects Oklahoma. 

I encourage every Oklahoman to pick up the phone, call your Congressman and tell them to vote NO on the Biden infrastructure plan. 

Adam Maxey is the Deputy State Director of Americans for Prosperity Oklahoma. For more information go to www.stopthespendingspree.com.

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