SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Environmental and education advocates have proposed a new measure that would tax oil and gas extracted in California to fund education programs in the state.
The measure, called the California Modernization and Economic Development Act (CMEDA) was written by students from UC Berkeley and is only in its beginning stage. It includes a proposed 9.5 percent tax on all oil and gas extracted.
Supporters claim the tax, if put on the ballot and approved by voters, will raise $1.2 million a year with the bulk going to fund kindergarten through college education programs.
California is the fourth largest oil drilling state in the U.S. and it’s the only major energy-producing state without a significant tax on oil and natural gas extraction—a fact that CMEDA supporters use as their major talking point.
“California doesn’t even have an oil extraction tax when Texas and Alaska have very high extraction taxes,” said one supporter who attended San Francisco’s Earth Day rally on Monday.
However, Tupper Hull, spokesman for the Western Sates Petroleum Association, said the industry was taxed enough.
“These proposals are all based on the same myth: That we are a low-tax state when it comes to oil production,” he said. “It would cost a lot of Californians jobs. It results in a reduction of local revenues for schools in the counties.”
The proposed tax has support from several state legislators and former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich, who served during Bill Clinton’s presidency.
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