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A new study, commissioned by the Oklahoma Rural Association and conducted by the University of Central Oklahoma, has found that Oklahoma municipalities were forced to pay over $180 million in expenses thanks to an anti-responsible investing law. 

The Oklahoman covered the study, writing: “It is clear that the [new law] has caused an unnecessary increase in municipal borrowing rates, increasing costs, harming taxpayers, and resulting in municipalities paying more for less or canceling projects altogether. These unintended consequences are causing significant harm to Oklahoma communities and our economy.”

Oklahoma’s law, called the Energy Discrimination Elimination Act, passed the state legislature in 2022. The act effectively limits competition by forcing local governments to avoid investing with financial institutions that use ESG criteria. 

The article continues, “[Travis] Roach, an associate professor and chair of the Department of Economics at UCO and founder of the Central Policy Institute, said the law, which prevents the state from doing business with companies that have environmental, social and governance policies, has increased borrowing costs for municipalities by about 16% compared to states that don’t have the legislation. He said the study also showed that the measure caused increased borrowing costs, higher taxes, reduced expenditures in other areas and the ‘delay or complete abandonment of projects intended to improve infrastructure and quality of life.’”

This Oklahoma study comes on the heels of several others that make clear: draconian anti-responsible investing laws are extremely harmful to hard-working Americans. 

  • The Kansas State Division of the Budget projected reduced returns of $3.6 billion over 10 years for the Kansas Public Retirement System if anti-ESG investment restrictions were adopted. 
  • The Arkansas Public Employees Retirement System estimated they could lose $30-40 million each year due to an anti-ESG bill requiring public divestiture from institutions using ESG-related metrics. 
  • Taxpayers in six states — Kentucky, Florida, Louisiana, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Missouri — could be on the hook for up to $700 million in excess interest payments if restrictions on sustainable investing are implemented.
  • Texas’ anti-ESG laws could cost taxpayers $22 billion.