by Max Brantley
The attorney general's office announced today it had approved the form of the proposal being pushed by Sheffield Nelson to increase the severance tax. It was the third version submitted by Nelson, a former gas company executive and Republican gubernatorial candidate.
It sets the severance tax at a flat 7 percent. The current rate tops out at 5 percent, but a great deal of gas is exempted. Nearly all the money would go to city streets, county roads and state highways on a 15-15-70 split.
How serious is he about getting it on the ballot? Time will tell. He's said he's serious. And the legislature has already called any intended bluff. The sponsor has withdrawn an intermediate severance tax measure for highways. Gas lobby is too strong under the dome. At the polls?