An initiative proposing a state consitutional amendment that would tax oil production to fund a range of alternative energy efforts has gained enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot, according to California Secretary of State Bruce McPherson.
The California Clean Alternative Energy Initiative would establish a $4 billion program to reduce oil and gasoline usage by 25% from 2005 levels over the next ten years, with research and production incentives for alternative energy, alternative energy vehicles, energy efficient technologies, and for education and training. It would be funded by a tax of 1.5% to 6%, depending on oil price per barrel, on producers of oil extracted in California.
The initiative, which also prohibits producers from passing tax on to consumers, gathered 1,143,365 signatures, qualifying it for the ballot. To qualify by random sample, an initiative must receive a projected 110% of the required number of signatures, which for this initiative was 657,916. The initiative qualified with 705,182 projected valid signatures.
California is third in the United States in oil production and requires no tax on oil companies for extracting natural resources, unlike the Federal government (12.5%), Alaska (15%), Texas (4.6%), and Louisiana (12.5%), according to Californians For Clean Alternative Energy.
If voters approve the ballot measure, the state will get new revenue of between $200 million to $380 million annually from a tax of 1.5% to 6% on oil production, according to the state’s nonpartisan legislative analyst.
The money would fund research and development of alternative energy including solar and wind power and electric and hydrogen-fueled cars. Both public and private organizations will be eligible for funds.
Local governments may lose money from property taxes paid on oil reserves, which would impact the oil-producing counties of Kern and Los Angeles.