High Noon for an Oil Tax

Legal experts were scratching their heads last week over a startling decision by an obscure but respected 82-year-old U.S. district court judge in Wyoming: the windfall profits tax on oil is unconstitutional. The problem, wrote Judge Ewing Kerr, is that the legislation says that "one state, Alaska, is not subject to the same tax at the same rate as all the other states. This is a clear violation of the constitutional requirement of uniformity." The ruling, which came in a suit brought by the Independent Petroleum Association of America and other oilmen, could force the U.S. Treasury to return some $23...

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