California is considering a 5% severance tax on oil extraction from California to provide billions of dollars for education. I can hear the hue and cry, NO MORE TAXES. Not all taxes are bad. The oil industry pays less than 1% severance taxes to California, but Alaska get’s 50%. Wyoming gets 45.4 %, and N.D. a state that is booming right now, gets 5%. Texas get’s 66% in three different taxes, value of oil as it comes from the ground, a clean-up tax and a “regulatory” tax.Thirty-four states get oil severance taxes.
I see something wrong with this ballot measure. California needs to charge 15% because we have heavier environmental safety formulas for gas. We are providing our neighbors with cleaner air at our expense. And, we watch the oil company profits soar into the billions each year as they laugh their way to the bank. And, we watch Federal subsidies on oil. I call it theft of our tax monies levied to get friendly senators and representatives to keep it going.
Charging a 15% severance rate, could be applied to lower state taxes at the pump by 5%, for our gas. Put 5% towards strengthening education, and 5% toward transportation.
Whether you use it or not, public transportation benefits everyone. It connects people to jobs, and community services. It reduces pollution and eases congestion. It helps create local jobs and strengthens the economy. Studies have proven that to be true. Our future has to be infrastructure that takes an investment and commitment from our local officials as we move away from gas guzzling cars, especially in cities. We need it.
Education has gotten so expensive that kids without job prospects, start life with student debt. Core classes are not always available, meaning it takes longer to fulfill requirements.. Elementary education has suffered draconian cuts year in and year out and deserves a boost. We penalize the very thing that will energize our society and make us a leading state again. Lets put California back on the map.
Tax the right industries, those that pollute and damage, and reward those that enhance our society. Isn’t that a good idea?