Couch going to Sacramento to testify against last attempt to levy 9.5 percent tax on each barrel of oil produced

 The Kern County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 Tuesday to support Fourth District Supervisor Supervisor Couch's resolution opposing the latest effort to impose a severance tax on oil.

The unanimous vote isn't enough for Couch, though.

Couch aide Mark Salvaggio said the supervisor plans to go to Sacramento April 2 to testify against Senate Bill 1017, introduced in February by State Sen. Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa).

Evans' bill would impose a 9.5 percent levy on each barrel of oil produced in California.

The money raised would be split between the state's community colleges, state colleges and universities, the state parks system and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Couch's Fourth District includes more than half of Kern County's oil production.

In addition to supporting the resolution, the Board of Supervisors also authorized Couch to represent the county when he testifies before the Senate Governance & Finance Committee.

If passed, the bill would give the University of California, California State University and California Community College systems 50% of the funds to share equally, with health and human services receiving 25% and state parks the remaining 25%.

SB1017 drew immediate opposition from the oil industry and other business groups.

Elected officials in Kern County joined the opposition.

Opponents say an oil tax would be damaging to Kern's economy and actually lower the assessed valuation of the lands, hurting many special districts and other agencies dependent on property taxes.

SB 1017 is the 13th attempt to impose a severance tax on oil since 1981, Salvaggio said.