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The Chamber's anti-gas-tax pitch

Sure enough, Sheffield Nelson and the Arkansas Municipal League reported enough signatures last week to clear the first hurdle for an act that will for the first time in history decently reimburse Arkansans and their descendants for the profiteering from vanishing natural gas resources.

Now, the sponsors will have to withstand a legal attack on the petitions by the gas companies and their surrogate, the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, and pick up a few thousand more signatures for insurance. Then they, and the voters, will have to fight off a classic disinformation campaign of the kind that has become the national standard on big policy issues. The campaign against the national health-insurance law in 2010 is the template. If you've got enough money and moxie you can make people believe anything — that the law will destroy jobs, freedom and the American way of life and pile onerous taxes and debt on all of us and our descendants.

That is already the chamber's and gas industry's tack on Nelson's initiated act, which would impose a 7 percent tax on the value of gas produced for the market in Arkansas. The rate would be close to what other states in the region tax gas at the wellhead. Since 2009, Arkansas's rate averages a little over 1.5 percent. Other big gas-producing states levy taxes in different forms and at varying rates; Sarah Palin's Alaska collects a tax of 22.5 percent. The severance tax in Alaska raises more than 77 percent of the state government budget, so Alaskans are almost tax-free. In Texas, the severance tax accounts for 6 percent of the state budget, in Oklahoma 13 percent, in Louisiana 9 percent and New Mexico 19 percent.

What about the Arkansas budget? Severance taxes account for under one half of 1 percent.

Our leaders, including the State Chamber of Commerce, have always loved the sales tax to pay for everything. In fact, that's one reason they want to prevent a fair severance tax on natural gas. Most of the money from the tax would go to fix highways and bridges, city streets and county roads. The chamber and the gas industry want ordinary people, the middle class and the poor, to pay for interstate roads for the shippers and for the damage done to roads in gas exploration.

Here is what you will hear:

• The big companies will take drilling rigs out of Arkansas and it will cost tens of thousands of jobs. Not one rig will move — not because of the little severance tax anyway — and not one job will be lost. Have they moved out of Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Kansas, Alaska and elsewhere into Arkansas because of our low tax and their high taxes? Never happened.

• You'll pay higher taxes for your heating gas. Not true. The gas goes into interstate pipelines and is marketed nationally. Little of the shale gas stays in Arkansas.

But never mind. They'll have industry-financed studies showing all those horrors to be true

Source:http://www.arktimes.com/arkansas/the-chambers-anti-gas-tax-pitch/Content?oid=2334372

 

 

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ucantbserious
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ucantbserious 07/13/12 - 02:42 pm
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Hmm

And I thought the title was referring to all of the Mexican restaurants collectively banning DJB from eating there.

notthisboy
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notthisboy 07/13/12 - 04:47 pm
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One has to wonder

Once upon a time Mr. Nelson headed up the largest gas company in Arkansas and now he wants to tax them more. You wonder if he left with an axe to grind.

Why is the Municipal League attached at the hip with Mr. Nelson since most of the roadways traveled by this equipment are on state highways and county roads and not city streets. Hummmm bet there is something in this to give part of the taxes to the cities. I still smell a rat in this.

Mr. Nelson has had a hankering to be in the limelight lately, remember his suit against the Game and Fish Commission that went away.

i_hate_parks
4583
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i_hate_parks 07/14/12 - 01:48 am
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@notthisboy

Yes the cities and counties stand to gain if this passes. That is the real reason that the Municipal League is backing this. Under Arkansas state law 27-70-202, severance tax revenue is classified as highway revenue. Highway revenue is divided out by state law 27-70-206. It splits the money as follows; 70%-state, 15%-counties, 15%-cities. So if the severance tax collected goes up, so does the money for the cities and counties. On the surface that may seem like a good thing, but you have to remember what the proponents of raising the tax are saying. They say that the increased money will repair road damage and allow for better environmental inspections. What they don't say is that under state law 27-76-103(15), those funds can be used for a wide variety of things that have nothing to do with road damage from gas extraction. This is how Conway city leaders were able to use severance tax money for bike lanes. Doesn't make a damn bit of sense does it? If I was worried about the damage being done to the roads, I would be equally concerned in making sure ALL of the existing severance tax was used to address those concerns, yet you hear nothing from Mr. Nelson or the Municipal League on this issue. Why? Because they don't really care about road damage, all they want is the increased funds so they can spend them on things that have absolutely nothing to do with road damage from natural gas extraction. If I am wrong, then I challenge Mr. Nelson, The Municipal League, and any others who support such an increase to change Arkansas state law so that the money from the severance tax is separated from "highway revenues" and used to address the specific damage being done by the gas companies. Until that happens, we have no way of knowing if the current tax rate is adequate to address the damage being done. Until that is known, why would we raise it?

MarkVaught
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MarkVaught 07/13/12 - 10:57 pm
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MORE MORE MORE!!!

So, extracting an EXTRA $250 million (keep in mind this isn't the only tax gas companies pay) out of a $3.6 billion industry won't hurt it one bit, eh? Sounds like a perfect justification for the state to raise income taxes by 7%, counties to raise property taxes by 7%, and/or cities to raise sales taxes by 7%.

Anybody in favor of that? What would happen in your household if and additional 7% of your income was suddenly confiscated by the government? Would you be able to simply "absorb" the cost? I wouldn't. I'd have to give up my car payment, or downsize my house payment by 20-25%.

Similarly, it's not likely that gas companies would simply absorb this extra loss in revenue, either. Like many of our households, gas companies' expenses would have to be reduced or eliminated. Would they cut jobs? Would they cut wages? Would they relocate to states that have natural gas and severance taxes, but have lower income and business taxes? Any and all of these scenarios are possible.

Why jeopardize losing a single job over more taxes? The reward is not worth the risk.

BuzzBy
17777
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BuzzBy 07/16/12 - 11:06 am
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What and Who Will Pay
Unpublished

Mark
When we find out that the rumors are true and our creeks, streams, lakes and wells have all been contaminated by Frac fluid?????
Example:
A truck leaves a wellhead full of used Frac fluid this is going to cost the company $7000 plus fuel to the deep well injection site. So in the way the truck springs a leak OOOPPPSSSSS and all the Frac fluid drains out along the back roadway. Truck gets down the road and finds it has not fluid to deliver.
Company just saved $7000 dollars and fuel for a trip to the deep well injection site. So it is back for another run that won't get to the deep well injuection site. Another $7000 and fuel saved.
In the mean time ever so slowly the chemicals in the Frac fluid seep into our ponds, creeks, groundwater and lakes (LIKE BREWER).
Who is keeping track of gallons of fluid removed at the well head and the gallons that make to the deep well injection site? There should not be one OZ difference without the public know what is in that fluid so we can test our water for those chemicals.

MarkVaught
1421
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MarkVaught 07/16/12 - 11:45 am
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1
And if this tragic scenario

And if this tragic scenario were to play out, that $7,000 saved would pale in comparison to the fines that would be levied on the offending business by the ADEQ, AOGC, EPA, and countless other government regulatory agencies who are charged with protecting our groundwater and drinking water systems from that very thing.

Brewer Lake is constantly tested for adverse chemical content, as are other sources of public water. Those with private wells can have their water tested upon request to the ADEQ.

Accidents do occur, and some unforseen event could potentially pollute Brewer Lake or some other section of land with several private wells. We live our entire lives knowing that the possibility of bad things occurring does exist. Does the possibility of an automobile accident keep you from driving your vehicle? Does the possibility of food poisoning keep you from eating food canned or prepared by others?

I contend that the reward of cheap, clean energy in the form of natural gas is worth the risks associated with the process of extracting it from the ground.

And either way, taxing the industry to the point of forcing it to leave is not the best way to force it to leave. If you truly want rid of the natural gas industry, get a petition together to outlaw it altogether.

BuzzBy
17777
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BuzzBy 07/16/12 - 12:49 pm
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The Feds
Unpublished

You mean like the 44K Hal Crafton and company got for their little stunt
OH Yea that really hurt them a big ole bite into their profit they learned their lesson and won't do that again.

44,000 divided by 4,748 dead birds makes each bird worth
wait for it $9.27
Parker said some of the young egret and heron carcasses were sent to the National Fish and Wildlife Forensic Laboratory in Ashland, Ore. The laboratory finding was the birds died from "blunt force trauma."
So you can kill them @ $9.27 a bird if you need to hurry up and get your golf course build in west Conway. THIS DID HAPPEN RIGHT HERE IN CONWAY

http://thecabin.net/stories/111798/loc_1117980073.shtml

The scenario has already happened serveral times across the US just that no one has been able to prove it. People just wonder when it hasn't rained in days why the dirt road is wet. Most of the water hauling happens at night both in and out. That is why nighthawk got it's name.

MarkVaught
1421
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MarkVaught 07/16/12 - 02:13 pm
1
1
Not to minimize the

Not to minimize the destruction of a population of egrets, but $44,000 seems a fairly hefty fine for such an act. Imagine what the fine would be for polluting the drinking water source for the entire city of Conway.

If you see wet roads and are concerned that water haulers are polluting the ground in the manner that you suggest, then report the activity to the ADEQ and ask them to test the soil. This would give a definitive answer to the question.

Again, getting back to the topic, if your concern is environmental protection from the natural gas industry, then raising taxes isn't the best way to protect the environment.

BuzzBy
17777
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BuzzBy 07/16/12 - 02:51 pm
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I Guess
Unpublished

44K would be a big number to you or me but not to Hal and company they have since made all that back with interest.

Just think Arkansas should be on par with other local gas producing states and get the states part on the front end.

i_wonder
27122
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i_wonder 07/13/12 - 11:12 pm
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