Another tax bill bites the dust

by Heather Miller

A House committee killed legislation that would have taxed natural gas flowing through the state and generated $3 billion a year in new revenue. In yet another indication that taxes of any kind to deal with the looming budget deficit are a nearly impossible sell this session, a bill that would have taxed natural gas flowing through the state was killed in a House committee Monday.

The Advocate reports that the House Committee on Ways and Means involuntarily deferred House Bill 436 by state Rep. Reed Henderson, D-Violet, thanks to what Henderson called political pressure from the Jindal administration to make sure lawmakers didn't push the bill through to the full House floor for debate:
The money generated would have gone into a Fair Share Fund and then would have been divvied up among state government expenses.

Henderson said the state has provided much of the country's energy needs over the past 100 years without getting much in return.

Through a companion bill, voters would have been asked to amend the state constitution in October to authorize a tax on natural gas transported in Louisiana. To go before voters, the proposal first would have to be approved by two-thirds of the Legislature.
One of the only people who testified in support of the bill was Louisiana Association of Educators Executive Director Michael Walker-Jones, who told the committee that the $3 billion a year in new revenue could make the state less dependent on federal grants and less financially depressed.

The majority of those who attended the hearing were opposed to the bill and say the new taxes on natural gas would hurt the boom in investment in the industry, particularly in north Louisiana with the Haynesville Shale.

Read more on the bill and committee meeting here.