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Latest Budget Bailout Plan Does Not Include Raising Taxes on New Wells

The latest version of a budget bailout bill coming from GOP leaders at the State Capitol does not include a gross production tax hike on new wells but it does propose one on so-called legacy oil wells.

The measure is similar to one defeated two weeks ago in the House. It contained an increase of the gross production tax from 4 percent to 7 percent on the legacy wells but the hike would take place earlier than the earlier version allowing the state to receive millions faster. An estimated $48 million in revenue from the increase is expected. If the bill is passed and sent to the Governor this week, the implementation would be 90 days after it was signed into law.

Since the Senate already passed such a bill with an increase in the legacy well tax, the House does not need 76 votes but rather a simple majority.

Otherwise, the latest “fix” includes $60.3 million in cuts from 49 state agencies with the cuts averaging 2.5 percent. The plan also includes using another $60 million from the Rainy Day Fund.

Of the state agencies that focus on energy, the Corporation Commission’s budget of $9,686,724 would be slashed by $236,134 or 2.44 percent. The new budget would be $9,450,590.

The Department of Environmental Quality would experience the same 2.44 percent cut. Its $5,695,766 budget would lose $138,846 and the new budget would be $5,556,920.

The State Transportation Department would suffer a 2.32 percent cut or a total of $3,593,447 out of the $55,047,956 budget.

The Department of Agriculture would face a 2.26 percent cut or $533,766 from its total budget of $23,556,736.

The state agency facing the harshest cut would be the State Alcohol Beverage Law Enforcement agency. Under the proposed bill, its $3,457,982 budget would be slashed by $1,000,000 or 28.92 percent.