Bob Johnson on tax: Still no | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Bob Johnson on tax: Still no

Posted By on Tue, Mar 11, 2008 at 1:10 PM

Sen. Bob Johnson, leader of the Senate "brotherhood" and thus a key player in whether Gov. Mike Beebe can pass a brokered severance tax bill, said he not seen Gov. Beebe's proposal for a 5 percent rate on gas production. But he said his well-known position on the issue hasn't changed: "I’ve been consistently against raising tax. Any time you give me the choice between taxes and good jobs, I’ll take good jobs. I’m not trying to be critical of anyone’s position on this. I just think that this is the wrong time to be passing taxes."

Johnson did not indicate that he has a strategy to defeat the governor's proposal. Indeed, he never said he intended to cheerlead others in that direction He offered no prognostication as to how the proposal would fare, nor could he predict what support his anti-tax position might have among other legislators.

Johnson said there is no question that an increase in the severance tax would mean a subsequent decrease in Arkansas gas production. He argued that gas companies have other options for shale drilling and cited new developments in Mississippi. He said that, due partially to Arkansas' hilly terrain and poor road system, it's more costly to drill here than in the Barnett Shale in Texas. Asked how the state will pay for roads if Beebe's proposal fails, he replied that there could be money from bonds or existing tax mechanisms. He expressed skepticism that the money from a severance tax would contribute more than a drop in the bucket to improving infrastructure.

Johnson and other legislators were not involved in the negotiations that produced today's proposal. Companies that participated in the talks have indicated they will back the governor's efforts to pass the increase. "We are committed to work with the governor and the legislature to pass legislation that reflects the terms of the agreement announced today," said Chesapeake Senior Vice President Henry Hood.

UPDATE: UCA will release a public opinion poll on a severance tax increase tomorrow, along with a  reading on the lottery amendment and ratings of state politicians. A Republican of my acquaintance claims the poll will show in the presidential race that Clinton beats McCain in Arkansas but McCain beats Obama. That sounds plausible, though not if you rely solelyon comments on this blog.

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (14)

Showing 1-14 of 14

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-14 of 14

Add a comment

More by John C. Williams

Readers also liked…

  • Auditor Lea caught not telling the truth

    State Auditor Andrea Lea, who began her tenure in statewide office with a degree of competence unseen in some other Republican counterparts (think Treasurer Dennis Milligan particularly), is becoming more deeply mired in a political scandal.
    • Mar 4, 2016
  • The two cities of Little Rock: East/west, black/white

    The Little Rock City Board illustrated this week a community divided over public schools, another blow to the Little Rock School District and another illustration of the need for ward elections to the board.
    • Mar 23, 2017
  • Another Republican miracle-working governor

    Great piece in Washington Post on the budget crisis in Louisiana. Big tax cuts and corporate welfare will do that to a state, particularly to a state whose previous governor, Republican Bobby Jindal, refused to join the Obamacare-funded Medicaid expansion. There's a lesson there for Arkansas.
    • Mar 4, 2016

Most Shared

Most Viewed

  • Environmental group finds agricultural chemicals in Arkansas drinking water

    The Environmental Working Group released a report this week that asserts that the drinking water for about 200,000 Arkansans contains unsafe levels of chemicals related to industrial agriculture. Another environmental group has used the occasion to call for Tyson Foods to do something about it.
  • Ole Miss apologizes to Houston Nutt, settles his lawsuit

    Tom Mars, attorney for Houston Nutt, the former Arkansas and Ole Miss football coach, called my attention this morning to news that Nutt had settled his lawsuit against Ole Miss officials for speaking negatively about him despite a no-disparagement agreement with the school following his departure as head coach.
  • Additional allegations against pediatrician in sexual assault case

    KATV reports that police have increased the number of allegations of sexual assault against Dr. James Nesmith, a former pediatrician at Arkansas Children's Hospital and a staff member at UAMS.

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation