It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that plunge in oil prices has taken its toll on the state.
Last week Houston-based oil company Occidental Petroleum posted $5 billion fourth quarter loss – the largest lost in at least a quarter century. BP announced record losses too. Meanwhile, the Texas Workforce Commission reported oil companies were planning to slash about 600 more jobs as prices dipped below $30 a barrel this morning.
Many Texas oil companies are praying for some sort of miracle to stay afloat and they just might be on to something – it all comes down to a case that will go before the Texas Supreme Court.
Jim Malewitz, reporter for the Texas Tribune, says the case is a showdown between oil driller Southwest Royalties, a subsidiary of a Midland energy company, and the state over a tax exemption.
“It involves about a million or so dollars on equipment it bought years and years ago,” he says, “but the comptroller’s really worried that if it wins and this equipment is seen as exempt from sales taxes that a flood returns will come, and it could cost the state up to $4.4 billion in tax refunds.”
What you’ll hear in this segment:
– If the company wins the case, where the state would get money for paying
– How a massive rush for tax rebates could alter the state budget