Time to make better investments
August 22, 2008
Voters will have a lot to think about this fall when they read over their ballot. One of these important questions (Initiative 113) concerns whether Colorado is getting the full value from oil and gas development in the state.
Initiative 113 would eliminate the tax credit Colorado pays to the oil and gas industry. It is projected that tax credits for oil and gas will be about $300 million next year, and the proposed measure would instead use that money to invest in our state.
Colorado’s current tax rate on production is effectively 1.3 percent including the tax
credit, the lowest in the region, with New Mexico being the highest at 6.6 percent.
We can make better investments in our state. The oil and gas industry no longer needs a tax break. Instead, we can use the revenue to increase the funds allocated to energy-impacted areas, fund college scholarship programs and land conservation, promote energy efficiency and use of renewable energy, and fund transportation and water quality infrastructure needs in local communities.
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We can do all this without raising taxes or taxing the people of Colorado, and we would still have lower taxes on the oil and gas industry than neighboring states like Wyoming and New Mexico. There is an attempt to scare voters by threatening higher gas prices, but those claims are ridiculous given the global market for crude oil. And our natural gas prices are based on pipeline capacity rather than a tax break.
I support the proposed measure because it is not overly burdensome on the industry and will fund critical needs in the state of Colorado. The question we should ask ourselves is whether or not Colorado should continue to stand by and watch most of its nonrenewable gas resources get shipped out of state at a charge of only 1.3 percent. Once Colorado’s gas is produced it is gone forever.
Rep. Kathleen Curry
chair, House Committee on Agriculture, Livestock, and Natural Resources