(KCPW News) A bill that would have increased the amount of taxes oil and natural gas drillers pay to the state of Utah didn’t make it far in a legislative committee yesterday. Salt Lake City Democratic Representative Brian King says Utah energy companies have been getting a bailout from the state since the 1980s, and now it’s time to stop.
“Utah has a lower-than-average rate compared to neighboring states,” says King. “I think that especially in times when we’re dealing with such difficulties with the budget, funding public education, funding many other important state programs we ought to look at increasing those severance tax rates.”
Several oil companies were at the meeting to speak out against King’s House Bill 112, saying they’ve been hit hard by a down economy and have not been taking in larger profits because of low severance tax rates.
However, King says his main concern is making sure energy companies aren’t taking advantage of the resources Utah has to offer.
“Once it’s gone, you can’t reproduce it, you can’t come up with more of it, it’s gone,” King says. “And so we owe it to our children and our grandchildren and those who are coming on further down the line to make sure that we extract a fair amount of tax for this non-renewable resource.”
In a 9-to-4 party-line vote, Republicans on the committee tabled the bill, making it unlikely to re-surface this legislative session.
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