Favorite

Behind severance tax opposition 

Opposition to a ballot initiative to increase Arkansas's low severance tax on natural gas is cranking up.

An ad hoc group for that purpose, Stop the Gas Tax AR has a website on-line (stopthegastaxar.com), a Twitter feed and a Facebook page. There is a no-name e-mail address and a phone number answered by a machine. It's been ginning out talking points against a tax increase since late January. Signs bearing the committee logo have started turning up at convenience stores and other places in the shale zone, particularly.

Randy Zook, head of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, confirmed that the effort is an offshoot of the anti-tax committee he heads, Arkansans for Jobs and Affordable Energy. According to its most recent Ethics Commission filing, it has raised $400,000 (in equal contributions from Stephens Production and Southwestern Energy) and spent $223,000 on a variety of legal and consulting costs. Zook said surveys indicate the issue is "winnable" for his side, but it will require some education — which could indicate that it's not an automatic win for the gas interests. The message will work on explaining how severance tax rates in neighboring states, when various differences are factored in, are comparable to the low effective rate in Arkansas.

Before it's done, $400,000 will be a drop in the bucket, of course. Major corporations will also be free to spend independently in the effort.

The Committee for a Fair Severance Tax, chaired by former gas company executive Sheffield Nelson, has raised about $55,000 so far, but gotten a great deal of free media thanks to road damage by drilling rigs, a variety of environmental issues and the Arkansas Municipal League's support. Its proposal for a 7 percent severance tax would provide increased support for city, county and state roads.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Most Shared

  • ASU to reap $3.69 million from estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn

    Arkansas State University announced today plans for spending an expected $3.69 million gift in the final distribution of the estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn, who died in 2013 and 2015 respectively.
  • Bad health care bill, again

    Wait! Postpone tax reform and everything else for a while longer because the Senate is going to try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act one more time before September ends and while it can do it with the votes of only 50 senators.
  • Sex on campus

    Look, the Great Campus Rape Crisis was mainly hype all along. What Vice President Joe Biden described as an epidemic of sexual violence sweeping American college campuses in 2011 was vastly overstated.

Latest in The Insider

  • All in the family

    Old habits die hard. We may have a new Republican majority in the legislature, but like the old Democratic majority, it still doesn't hurt to have a lawmaker spouse to land a part-time job during the legislative session.
    • Jan 30, 2013
  • 'Circuit breaker' legal

    When we first asked Gov. Mike Beebe about the "circuit breaker" idea out of Arizona (automatically opting out of Medicaid expansion if the feds reduce the matching rates in the future), he said it was fine but noted that states can already opt out at any time, an assurance he got in writing from the feds.
    • Jan 30, 2013
  • Church goes to school in Conway

    An interesting controversy is brewing in Conway Public Schools, periodically a scene of discord as more liberal constituents object to the heavy dose of religion that powerful local churches have tried to inject into the schools, particularly in sex education short on science and long on abstinence.
    • Jan 23, 2013
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

September

S M T W T F S
  1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Most Viewed

  • Five days to celebrate Central, LR Nine

    A guide to the coming events.
  • The inadequate legacy of Brown

    LRSD continues to abdicate its responsibility to educate poor black students.
  • Won't touch race

    Also, Asa stumps for Cassidy-Graham, more charters and mmj by the numbers.
  • The many meanings of Little Rock

    Sixty years later, the city's schools remain an enduring symbol.
  • Taking one for the team

    The Observer got to the doctor's office the other day. We hate going to the doctor. Loathe is a better word. In the form of a sentence, it would be: "The Observer hates going to the doctor with the same white hot intensity that Trump voters would hate being forced to read the seminal grammar primer, 'The Elements of Style,' by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White." Yes, it's that bad.

Most Recent Comments

 

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