The money is lining up against Prop 87 in California.

Prop 87 is a ballot initiative that would impose a small fee on oil drilling in the state. The fee is indexed to the price of oil, making it essentially a tax on oil company profits. Those wells that went in when oil was $25 a barrel? They still cost the same to run. If they were profitable then, they are goldmines now.

Over 10 years, Prop 87 will raise $4 billion. The money will go toward kicking our oil addiction.

<pSounds good. And it is good.

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But $4 billion in profits is $4 billion in profits, and no matter that this measure will fight global warming while developing energy independence — oil companies will spend what it takes, up to $3.99999999 billion, to make Californians think otherwise.

Here’s the spin: Won’t this tax raise gasoline prices? Aren’t prices high enough without new taxes?

The price of crude oil is set on a world market. A tax like this will have zippo effect on world crude prices. Alaska’s oil drilling fee is 15%, Lousiana’s is 12.5%, and Texas’s is 4.6%. What do these three states have in common? Gas prices waaay cheaper than California.

Ain’t no better way to keep gas prices high than to not develop alternatives.

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California is the third-largest oil producing state in the country. Yet the state garners more revenue from selling hunting and fishing licenses than it gets from drilling fees — and this an industry with $78.3 billion in profits last year alone.

The more I think about this, the more I come to the conclusion that this is not a ballot initiative — it’s an intelligence test.

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