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Should Colorado lawmakers somehow convince oil and gas executives to voluntarily pay more severance taxes, some say that money needs to be a big part of fixing the state's critical transportation-funding shortfall.
The oil and gas industry spent $10.8 million to bring about the Election Day defeat of Amendment 58, a measure that would have dramatically increased the severance tax the industry pays to the state for extracting resources from Colorado soil.
So it seems counter-intuitive that the industry would now voluntarily agree to pay even more severance tax, which in Colorado is currently the lowest among all major energy-producing states. But that’s exactly what key Western Slope lawmakers are hoping to accomplish in the coming months.
State lawmakers and energy experts are hotly debating a pair of dueling oil and gas severance tax questions on the Nov. 4 ballot, with even some Republicans divided on Amendment 52, which is being touted by conservatives as an alternative to Gov. Bill Ritter’s Amendment 58 tax hike.
A Denver-based nonprofit legal watchdog group filed suit in Denver District Court Tuesday against three Republican state lawmakers, asking a judge to compel them to fully comply with an open-records request relating to their correspondence about Amendment 52.