On Feb. 7-8, 2018 in Bakersfield, County Tax Assessors from the oil producing parts of California, including Dan Goodwin, Ventura County Assessor, will meet for a conference at the Bakersfield Country Club. The event is jointly hosted by Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), an oil and gas industry lobbying group and the Petroleum Standards Advisory Committee (PSAC) of the California Assessors Association.
Remember, Tax Assessors are elected officials.
Does the public get to lobby at the conference for favorable tax rates?
The main topic of conversation, from the agenda for the conference , is determining the appropriate tax rate for oil and gas assets. Other discussion topics include: Geothermal, Minerals and a discussion on Renewable Energy, remember this conference is funded by the oil and gas industry.
In California oil and gas extraction companies are not charged a per-barrel severance tax, instead they are assessed based on the value of the oil and gas in their leases that is still in the ground. This is especially important for larger, publicly traded oil and gas companies who have to show their stockholders/investors they are increasing their assets.
ACTION ITEM: Do you think your local county tax assessor should be meeting - out of the public "view" - with oil and gas lobbyists to set the tax rate for the oil industry? Contact your elected state reps AND County Supervisors TODAY.
While on one hand, it makes sense that tax assessors need to receive information from the industry about their holdings, perceived value and so on - it does not follow that the setting of the tax rate should be highly influenced by the industry which will be taxed, and that these discussions and information gathering occur behind doors closed to the public. While, it is unclear whether the public is allowed to attend any of the conference, there have been no public notices. Remember, these are elected officials attending a conference hosted by a firm paid to lobby for the industry the elected officials will be overseeing/taxing.
Here are some past articles and info about previous years conferences: