Friday, March 15, 2013

Get used to it

We're probably going to be watching BP work on weaseling out of its obligations for the next few decades.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- BP has asked a federal judge to block a court-appointed administrator from paying Gulf Coast businesses' claims through a multibillion-dollar settlement over the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico

In a court filing Friday in New Orleans, the London-based oil giant argues that program administrator Patrick Juneau's method of processing and paying businesses' claims violates the settlement's terms.
Meanwhile, the ongoing trial to determine BP's eventual Clean Water Act liabilities seems to be going in the direction of a "gross negligence" ruling, although I'm not basing that on anything other than my own reading of the testimony.  And obviously the momentum could shift there. Point is, whatever they're ordered to pay they'll likely continue to fight it for years.

In a somewhat related matter, this detail of Bobby Jindal's tax plan unveiled yesterday was pointed out to me although I haven't seen it commented on much.
The services added to the state sales tax base include personal, professional and other services that are currently excluded from the state sales tax base. The services that will be excluded include healthcare, education, construction, real estate, financial services, legal services, oil and gas services, and funerals. The purchase of advertisement (“buys”) will be excluded. The plan will also protect small service providers by creating a “de minimis” exemption that will exclude any service providers with annual revenue under $10,000. The plan will also modify some severance tax exemptions.

In several write-ups, Jindal's plan was noted for "tightening"  exemptions on the severance tax, although there's no indication of how tight he plans to go with that. But did anyone point out that the sales tax, which is expected to become the state's primary revenue generator, excludes oil field services? Again, the devil is in the not-as-yet-present details of such an exemption but we could be talking about hundreds of millions of dollars in giveaways to oil and gas here.

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