by Max Brantley
My favorite item in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette today?
A guest column by Sheffield Nelson, the former head of Arkla Gas and former Republican gubernatorial candidate, who writes persuasively that Gov. Mike Beebe should get to work on raising Arkansas's scandalously low severance tax on natural gas. Even an increase to a rate that kept us at the bottom of the region would produce a handsome sum for, as an example, making college more affordable to every student in Arkansas.
Beebe, to his discredit, ruled this subject off the table even before the session began. It is a year for tax-cutting, not raising, in the eyes of most elected politicians. But with the Fayetteville shale coming online -- bringing with it still more exploitation of a finite resource and in a way potentially more damaging to the environment -- this issue should be fought again. There's some back story on this regards Nelson, but it need not detract from the absolute correctness of his position.
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