Sheffield Nelson: The severance tax again | Arkansas Blog

Friday, February 4, 2011

Sheffield Nelson: The severance tax again

Posted By on Fri, Feb 4, 2011 at 10:09 AM

Sheffield Nelson (does he need an introduction?) plans a "major announcement" at his law office at 10:30 a.m. Monday.

The former gas company exec, Republican guberantorial candidate and former Game and Fish commissioner is already suing the Game and Fish Commission over internal procedures.

He's threatened to try again on an initiative campaign to make the gas severance tax pay for the road damage drillers are causing.

Maybe he'd like to start a campaign for a REAL legislative ethics initiative, not the thin gruel the legislature is about to pass to much self-congratulation.

UPDATE: As I originally figured, you can count on this being about the severance tax. All the background is in Ernest Dumas' cover story for us on how exemptions and special treatment for certain types of gas wells neutered the 2008 severance tax increase. Nelson was quoted then about his desire to see the tax increase.

Expect a proposal in the legislature to try again — perhaps a 5 percent flat tax with no special rates for any special classes of wells. Passing a tax increase in this legislature — no matter how strong a populist argument can be made to make the people getting rich off a finite resource pay for their damage to the state — is a long shot. But Nelson can again hold an initiative campaign out as a possibility if legislation fails.

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