By Bob Beck
Cheyenne, WY – A committee of the state Senate is recommending approval of a bill to increase taxes on helium production. The bill would mainly impact Exxon Mobil. Wyoming's Department of Revenue says the company produces 25 percent of the world's helium at its Shute Creek Facility in Sublette County. Last year the legislature imposed severance taxes on Helium--- this bill includes ad valorem taxes, or taxes on the ownership of helium. Exxon-Mobil officials are protesting the tax saying the helium actually comes from the federal government. They say the tax is unfair. The chair of the Senate Minerals Committee, Grant Larson, disagrees. He says all minerals need to be taxed.
"We are gonna tax it both ad valorem and we are gonna tax it on property and we are going to tax it at any point in the process, as long as it's only taxed once," Larson says.
Supporters of the tax say it will raise about two million dollars a year for Sublette County and the state's schools.