Opinion | Letter: Fact check on Proposition 112
Melinda McWilliams suggested you vote yes on Proposition 112. However, before doing so you should know that some of the information used in her letter is not correct.
The total employment for Oil & Gas extraction is 240,000, which is 6.5 percent of the Colorado workforce, not 1 percent. This data comes from the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics and matches other surveys by the American Petroleum Industry and the Rocky Mountain Energy Forum. This work force produces 9 percent of Colorado’s GDP. Oil and gas pays $3 billion in total government income and accounts for 12 percent of total assessed tax values for the state.
The oil and gas industry pays 95 percent of all the severance tax collected in Colorado. The Severance Tax in Colorado is 5 percent for any oil company with more than $300,000 of annual income. This means that any company big enough to drill horizontal wells is paying 5 percent severance tax. The oil industry in Colorado is taxed the same as other industrial companies and does not receive any special tax breaks. The oil and gas industry also pays ad valorem taxes based on assessed valuation; this is similar to property taxes. The majority of those taxes go to the counties and the biggest portion of that income goes to the schools in those counties.
The majority of mineral rights are still owned by ranchers and farmers. Oil and gas leases pay mineral owners between 12.5-20 percent of the income from production and the mineral owner does not have to pay any of the drilling or operation costs. There are many happy rancher and farmers with the recent increase in oil and gas drilling.
All the major oil companies operating in Colorado are U.S. companies. As the U.S. still imports 1/3 of the oil we use, any oil produced in Colorado helps our national Security. If you are concerned with our national security you should vote to keep Colorado drilling and producing.
The undisputable fact is if Proposition 112 passes, thousands of your fellow Coloradans will loss their jobs. Many small companies that support oil drilling will go bankrupt. Government tax revenue will fall dramatically and schools, public safety and many other government services will suffer. Colorado taxpayers will have to have higher taxes or have less government services.
Vote No on 112.
Tim Schowalter, Granby
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Here is this week’s Grand County fishing report.