The final House-Senate tax-reform bill unveiled on Friday does indeed include extra energy-royalty payments to Gulf of Mexico states, as originally inserted into the Senate version of the bill by Alabama’s U.S. Sen. Luther Strange and Louisiana’s Bill Cassidy.
Yellowhammer reported on the battle for this extra funding earlier this week when U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne of Mobile spearheaded a letter to House leaders urging that they accept the Senate language.
The Cassidy-Strange language will allow the Gulf States (all but Florida, which allows no drilling off its shores) to collect a combined $150 million more in each of the years 2020 and 2021, to make up for a shortfall of $300 million in recent years. It is not clear exactly how much that will mean for Alabama, but the total extra revenue in those years from the Yellowhammer State should easily exceed $50 million.
The money comes under the provisions of the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA) of 2006.
So important was this provision that it was included in the House Ways and Means Committee’s official summary of the bill — not just the fine print somewhere, but the announcement of the bill’s key highlights. To wit: “Provides a temporary increase in offshore revenue sharing for the Gulf Coast in 2020 and 2021, allowing those states to invest in priorities such as coastal restoration and hurricane protection.”
Word of this Gulf state policy success first came to Yellowhammer News from Seth Morrow, press aide for Rep. Byrne.