Whether voters support Referendum A with their vote on Tuesday is up to them, but I want voters to make their decisions based on correct information about relative tax burdens.Referendum A would exempt heavy farm equipment from local property taxes. Farmers would no longer have to pay ad valorem taxes on their tractors, combines and most other farm equipment (pickups used on the farms would still be taxed).Some reports have claimed this tax relief for farmers would transfer the tax obligation to other property owners in rural areas. This claim may be true, but the resulting distribution of the tax burden will be more equitable than it is now.Enhances Local Tax FairnessReferendum A actually enhances local tax fairness.Normally, as an economist, I don’t favor such targeted tax cuts designed to benefit a specific group. Such policies tend to distort the efficient working of our (supposed-to-be) free market economy. However, in this case, we have clear evidence that such tax relief is warranted on equity grounds.A University of Georgia study showed that for two representative Georgia counties (Habersham and Oconee), farm and forest land owners paid considerably more in county property taxes and other fees than they received back in services. In Oconee County, farmers paid $1.06 for each dollar of county services they received. In Habersham County, they paid $1.42 for every dollar of services.Conversely, homeowners paid only 92 cents in Oconee and only 81 cents in Habersham for every dollar they received in services. These numbers don’t even include taxes paid for schools — just those for local governments.If schools are included, farmers are overpaying by even more. In fact, more than 70 such studies have been done nationwide, and in every case, farmers pay more in revenue than they receive in services.Tax Relief Wouldn’t Be BurdenStatewide, the total tax relief under Referendum A is estimated at $12.9 million per year. In only seven counties is the tax relief estimated to exceed $250,000 per year. In the two most affected counties, Mitchell and Colquitt, the tax relief is approximately 6.5 and 4.8 percent of the total property tax collections, and even less than that of the overall county budgets.Looking at this evidence, it’s reasonable to conclude that farmers aren’t getting an undeserved tax break under Referendum A. They are simply getting a tax burden that’s more in line with the services they receive from their local governments.Such an argument may be why all but three states in the Southeast already have similar legislation.I suggest that Georgia and its county governments can easily afford this tax relief for farmers. Most important, the new law would actually enhance tax fairness, not reduce it.
Norwegian oil company Statoil has completed nearly 60 percent of the Phase 1 of the Johan Sverdrup project in the North Sea while further reducing the gross capital expenditure by NOK 5 billion to NOK 92 billion ($11.8B).Statoil is the operator of the project with 40.0267 percent interest. Its partners are Lundin Norway with a 22.6 percent working interest, Maersk Oil with 8.44 percent, Petoro with 17.36 percent and Aker BP with 11.5733 percent working interest.According to Aker BP’s statement on Monday, the Johan Sverdrup development passed the halfway mark over the summer, and is now nearly 60% complete, ahead of plan and below budget.Aker BP also added that, since the plan for development and operation (PDO) of the Johan Sverdrup field was approved by Norwegian authorities, planned investments for Johan Sverdrup Phase 1 have been reduced by a total of NOK 31 billion.Johan Sverdrup is one of the five largest oil fields on the Norwegian continental shelf. The field is being developed in several phases. The breakeven price for the full field development is estimated to less than $25 per barrel and the total resources in the Johan Sverdrup field are estimated to between 2.0 and 3.0 billion barrels of oil equivalent.This investment update for Phase 1 coincides with the assembly operation of the Johan Sverdrup drilling platform which is taking place these days in Klosterfjorden, near Haugesund in Norway. The drilling platform is one of four platforms which makes up the planned field center for Johan Sverdrup.Phase 1 is expected to start up in late 2019 with production capacity estimated at 440,000 barrels of oil per day.Phase 2 is expected to start up in 2022, with full field production estimated at 660,000 barrels of oil per day. Peak production on Johan Sverdrup will be equivalent to 25% of all Norwegian petroleum production. Concept decision for Phase 2 was made earlier this year and the selected concept consists of another process platform (P2), modifications to the riser platform and subsea wells.Alex Schneiter, CEO and President of Lundin Petroleum commented on Monday: “The world class Johan Sverdrup project is progressing really well and continues to get better and better. It is very encouraging to see that we have now passed the halfway mark in Phase 1 of the project and are ahead of schedule. It has been my long held view that costs will continue to come down and today we can announce that the Johan Sverdrup partnership has managed to lower development costs even further.”
HE’S a half-decent footballer himself – now Donegal Daily’s Mark Forker has shown his class…..in the bookies!The Burtonport man, currently plying his trade with Letterkenny Rovers (and the odd GAA match with Dungloe) really knows how to pick a winner.He watched in shock at the Aviva last night as Ireland beat Germany 1-0 and super Shane Long hit the first (and only) goal of the night. Forker had entered those two amazing facts on two pieces of paper half an hour before kick-off….two dockets from betting shop BoyleSports!He got 16/1 on a 1-0 Ireland win – and 10/1 on Shane Long scoring the first goal, the latter odds being a wee bit tight considering Long started the game on the bench.But both magic predictions came true, pocketing the Rovers man a tidy €150. (The only downside is he didn’t do a ‘double’ which would have netted him €900!)And Mr Forker was last seen in the early hours buying all his mates drinks in a city centre hostelry! He was unavailable for comment…..Mark celebrates with his sister MarianneJAMMY DONEGAL DAILY MAN SCOOPS CASH IN INCREDIBLE IRELAND SHANE LONG BET was last modified: October 9th, 2015 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:1-0betBOYLESPORTSDonegal DailyIrelandmark forkerShane Longwin