Lawmaker Concerned Oklahoma Tax Credits Supported Bankrupt California Firm

Tuesday, September 13th 2011, 3:36 pm
By: News On 6

Russell Hulstine,

OKLAHOMA CITY -- A Republican state lawmaker from Oklahoma City wants to know if Oklahoma tax credits benefited the controversial, failed solar-power company Solyndra.

According to a news release, District 91 State Representative Mike Reynolds bases his concern on state records.

Reynolds says George Kaiser's Argonaut Ventures has been named as the largest shareholder in Solyndra.  He says Tulsa billionaire George Kaiser is a recipient of state tax credits.

9/6/2011 Related Story: FBI Now Investigating California Solar Firm Tied To Tulsa Billionaire

Reynolds says public records show Kaiser received nearly $30 million in tax credits in 2007 and 2008 for venture capital investment.  He says an examination of reports about venture capital tax credit usage from the Oklahoma Tax Commission reveals a business entity with a name similar to Argonaut Ventures.

Reynolds said it is reasonable to question whether tax credits available to that entity were somehow involved in the transactions with Solyndra.

"There is very little transparency in the oversight of state tax credit programs and, as a result, we cannot learn all specific investments supported by those tax credits; we can only learn who received the tax credit," said Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City.

"However, since Argonaut Ventures has been identified as a major investor in Solyndra, it is fair to ask if any Oklahoma tax credits were used to support Solyndra either directly or indirectly. Oklahoma taxpayers have the right to know if their money was used to support an out-of-state business that is now the center of legal and ethical concerns," said Mike Reynolds.

Bankruptcy court records show Kaiser's Argonaut Private Equity firm was the largest shareholder of Solyndra.

George Kaiser is also chairman of the board for BOK Financial Corporation.

9/1/2011 Related Story: Congress Investigates Solar Company Tied To Tulsa Billionaire

Reynolds says members of the Task Force on State Tax Credits and Economic Incentives have been reviewing Oklahoma's tax credit programs this summer to determine if they need to be revised or even abolished.

In his news release Reynolds says the group recently learned that millions of dollars in investments supported by Oklahoma tax credits have benefited out-of-state companies in spite of the fact that the programs were meant to fund job creation in Oklahoma.