18 October 2007

No State Shall....

The centerpiece of Foster Campbell's campaign is the elimination of the State Income Tax. Amen to that. But it is his concept for replacing that revenue that bothers me. He says we should tax all oil, including that which is imported from foreign countries:

"The Campbell plan will replace the money given back to Louisianans by updating the 1921 severance tax on oil and gas produced in Louisiana. He’ll institute a 6 percent user fee on ALL oil and gas produced, processed, refined or distributed in Louisiana. Although Louisiana is now an oil and gas processing state instead of a major producing state, the system adopted 86 years ago collects a tax ONLY on minerals produced in Louisiana. But 95 percent of oil and gas produced and processed in Louisiana--most of it from foreign oil companies and companies owned by foreign nations--is untaxed. That’s unfair to producers in Louisiana and allows foreign companies to use our offshore waters and coastal wetlands without charge." (emphasis mine)

OK, but I have one teensy concern - Article I, Section 10 of the US Constitution says:

"No state shall, without the consent of the Congress, lay any imposts or duties on imports or exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing it's inspection laws: and the net produce of all duties and imposts, laid by any state on imports or exports, shall be for the use of the treasury of the United States; and all such laws shall be subject to the revision and control of the Congress." (again, emphasis mine)

Is Campbell's plan Constitutional, and would it add to the state coffers? Or, is it a grey area that would require years in Federal Court fighting off Constitutional challenges from the Feds, foreign governments, or from other States, before we saw the first nickel?

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