Monday, August 2, 2021


Hundreds of thousands of Medi-Cal recipients are paying monthly premiums when they donít have to: Dr. Fauci predicts the pandemic will get worse.


The Texas voting rights fight gets star power; lawmakers stage a sit-in as the eviction moratorium expires; and Senators work overtime on infrastructure.

Gas Tax Breaks Costing Texas $1 Billion Each Year


Monday, February 13, 2012   

AUSTIN, Texas - The original purpose of a state tax break that has been in place since 1989 was to encourage innovation and risk-taking by a struggling natural gas industry. Business boomed after new drilling techniques such as "fracking" became commonplace, tapping massive reserves of shale gas.

Still, the tax incentive remains, and it's depriving state coffers of more than $1 billion a year in revenues, according to state data analyzed by Dick Lavine, senior fiscal analyst with the Center for Public Policy Priorities.

"It's obviously no longer an incentive, but it has reduced the state's revenue from the natural gas tax by half. Nearly three-quarters of all natural gas in Texas gets some kind of tax break."

Thanks to the exemption, he says, about one-third of the state's wells pumped out zero tax dollars in the past few years. While the official tax rate is 7.5 percent of the value of a well's output, the true contribution averages less than 2 percent statewide, according to the Legislative Budget Board.

The Harris County director of the Texas Organizing Project, Christopher Young, says lost revenues from 2010 and 2011 were approximately the amount needed to keep up with public-school enrollment growth.

"We want to support new technologies, but these companies are now making monstrous profits. At a time when schools and state services are being cut, and working people seem to be paying more and more, there's just no reason to justify a giveaway to energy companies like this."

Lawmakers last year slashed education aid by $5 billion, while rejecting a measure to suspend the gas-tax exemption. Initially, the legislature had to renew the subsidy every few years, but it was quietly made permanent a decade ago, Lavine notes.

"It's a classic example of why it's important for the legislature to go through the tax code periodically and 'sunset' it. The natural gas operators, they need to chip in with everybody else to keep the state going."

A growing number of lawmakers from both parties agree the tax breaks are no longer necessary. Even some operators have said it might make more sense to allow market conditions to trigger incentives.

get more stories like this via email

Some tenants' advocates would like Virginia's new budget proposal for American Rescue Plan funding to include money for low-income renters to hire lawyers for eviction cases. (Adobe stock)

Social Issues

RICHMOND, Va. - Virginia's General Assembly Special Session begins today to budget more than $4 billion in federal COVID relief funds, and advocates …

Social Issues

ROSLINDALE, Mass. - A new report finds Massachusetts residents would rather repair electronic devices than send them to landfills, but manufacturers …

Social Issues

DENVER-During the COVID health emergency, the federal government made school meals available for free to all students, regardless of their financial …

The Blackfeet Reservation is one of seven tribal reservations in Montana. (Kushnirov Avraham/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

HELENA, Mont. - COVID-19 is underscoring the importance of ensuring that people's estates are in order, but estate planning can be be tricky for …

Social Issues

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Pandemic fallout still has U.S. states clawing their way back to normalcy, and New Mexico believes its decision to provide more …

In a new poll, 64% of New Hampshire voters said they think capital gains should be taxed at the same rate as income from wages; 56% support increasing the corporate tax rate to 28%. (Vitalii Vodolazskyi/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

CONCORD, N.H. - New polling finds many New Hampshire voters think it's important that wealthy individuals and corporations pay what's described as …

Social Issues

AMARILLO, Texas - The American Farm Bureau Federation hosts more than 100 college level chapters across 35 states, but this is the first time its …

Social Issues

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. - As activists mark more than 100 days of protest since the April 21 death of Andrew Brown Junior - killed outside his Elizabeth …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright © 2021