Connect
To Top

Fracking gets frack-taxed in Assembly

The “fracking tax” passed in the Assembly on Friday 35-7.

All seven votes against hiking this tax came from signers of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.  Go figure.

Regrettably, three Pledge signers broke their promise by voting for this tax hike.  They were: Assembly Speaker-of-the-Weak John Hambrick, Assemblywoman Victoria Seaman and Assemblywoman Robin Titus.

All three also broke their Pledge earlier in the session by voting for the “elk tax.”

The problem here is that highly-paid special interest lobbyists are outright lying to legislators, especially to freshmen Republicans, that these tax hikes aren’t really tax hikes but “user fees.”

Which is a load of crap.

In fact, one of the lobbyists twisting GOP arms on this bill was Paul Enos, executive director for the trucking association, whose only other disclosed lobbying client just happens to be an out-of-state energy company giant that favors the bill for its own reasons.

This often happens when a big company wants to use the power of big government to keep smaller competitors out of a market or saddle them with additional expenses the little guys are less able to absorb.  It’s a distasteful practice more commonly known as “crony capitalism.”

That said, why anyone would take the word of a paid special interest lobbyist on what is and isn’t a true “user fee” instead of checking with Grover Norquist, the Father of the Tax Pledge, on this issue is a complete mystery to me.

I guess it’s like the saying my friend AJ Maimbourg emailed to me yesterday about those who really want to restrain government will find a way; those who don’t will find an excuse.

So to clear up (again!) this lingering confusion on what is and is not a “user” fee for the purpose of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, here’s the explanation, word-for-word, in simple black-and-white language, directly from Americans for Tax Reform’s (ATR) online Q&A page that even Assemblywoman Chris “Let’s Make a Deal” Edwards should be able to understand…

Q. Are ‘user fees’ considered taxes?

A. “No. However, ATR defines the term ‘user fee’ very narrowly: To qualify as a fee, a charge must fund a specific service, with no excess going into a general fund; the charge must be paid only by those who use that specific government service; andindividuals must have the choice whether to purchase the service from government – and thus pay the fee – or to purchase the service from a private business. Excise taxes, sales taxes or taxes levied on businesses to pay for government regulation are not user fees.” (my emphasis)

“Taxes levied on businesses to pay for government regulation are not user fees.”

“Taxes levied on businesses to pay for government regulation are not user fees.”

“Taxes levied on businesses to pay for government regulation are not user fees.”

“Taxes levied on businesses to pay for government regulation are not user fees.”

“Taxes levied on businesses to pay for government regulation are not user fees.”

“Taxes levied on businesses to pay for government regulation are not user fees.”

The new fracking tax is a mandatory levy on energy exploration companies to pay for government regulation.

It is not – repeat NOT – a “user fee” any more than the sales tax you pay when you buy toilet paper at WalMart is a “user fee.”