A state lawmaker is trying again to impose a severance tax on oil extracted from the ground.
State Senator Noreen Evans failed to get an oil tax bill passed in 2009. Californians also rejected an oil tax ballot measure in 2006. So Evans is trying again. Her new bill would use the money raised by a new tax to fund the state's higher education system and our state parks.
"California is the only state in the union that does not have this kind of tax," said State Sen. Noreen Evans, (D) Santa Rosa. "Even Alaska and Texas have this sort of a tax. It's been something that I've been trying to get done for the last several years. Now seems a good time to do that."
"Oil production is already heavily taxed. Trust me, this is not a low-tax state. The state extracts its pound of flesh, energy production, through a variety of means other than a severance tax," said Tupper Hull, spokesperson for the Western States Petroleum Association.
Those other means, says Hull, include property and other taxes. Passage of any new taxes would take a two-thirds vote in the state legislature.
The oil industry opposes the tax, saying it is already heavily taxed.