Don’t expand severance taxes
“Severance taxes need an update,” Dec. 8 letter to the editor.
Letter-writer Robert Brayden argues that severance taxes should be applied to renewable energy resource production, to be “fair” to the oil and gas industry. But he is confusing an extraction tax with a consumption tax. Severance taxes are levied when someone is removing (“severing”) a finite natural resource from the land. In fact, several states, including Colorado, have created severance tax-funded endowments specifically so that revenue will continue to flow even after the resource is exhausted. Further, since the lumber industry also pays severance taxes, Brayden’s logic would suggest that, in the interest of being “fair,” new taxes should be applied on technologies that compete with lumber (concrete? steel? Trex?).
Consumers of renewable energy should enjoy all of the financial benefits inherent in that technology, including the absence of severance taxes.