Majority of Wells Qualify for Exemptions Under Beebe's Tax Plan

LITTLE ROCK, AR - According to state data, the vast majority of Arkansas' natural gas wells qualify for exemptions reducing their tax rates under Governor Beebe's severance tax proposal.

Only 5 percent of the state's wells are classified as wells that would pay the full tax rate that has been proposed by the governor as a way to fund additional highway improvements.

Beebe plans a special session beginning March 31 to consider raising the tax for the first time since 1957.  The governor says he has more than enough votes necessary in both chambers to pass the tax hike.  Beebe's proposal would place a 5 percent tax base on gas-sale proceeds received by producers with lowered rates for some wells.  Passing the tax hike requires 27 votes in the Senate and 75 in the House.

The House tax brings in about $660,000 annually.

Beebe said the estimates for the severance tax revenue, which he expects to reach $100 million, by 2013, takes the exemptions into account.

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