by Max Brantley
Should we raise the non-existent severance tax on natural gas in Arkansas, particularly as out-of-state despoilers of our soil are about to ship a bonanza in Arkansas treasure to states with much higher severance taxes and leave nothing behind but a few happy royalty owners and a lot of pollution?
Of course we should.
Will Mike Beebe, the governor of the lobby, lead us?
Beebe to Arkansas: "You're on your own, chumps. If you can hire a lobbyist, come talk to me. I'm with you if you can buy enough signatures to put simple common sense on the ballot. I didn't get where I am today by crossing the Stephens boys."
1) Beebe in January, when it was fully in his power to put this issue before the legislature (today he says it's time to start the debate, when nothing can be done until 2009): "As a practical matter, I don't think it's on the table as an option." Yes, Mike Beebe is a practical man.
2) An important Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families study on the topic.