The debate may be heated but the Joint Finance Committee is expected to keep Governor Doyle's Big Oil tax in the budget.

The real battle will be in the legislature where republicans are calling the idea unconstitutional and unenforceable. But Revenue Secretary Roger Ervin  says assessing big oil on the profits it makes in the state and preventing the cost from being passed on to consumers… will work.

Ervin hopes once the tax passes, the state will be able to work with the oil companies on compliance.

Republican Senator Glen Grothman is convinced the state will be sued and will lose. To him, that means not only will the price of gas go up five cents a gallon but taxpayers will be on the hook for wasted legal fees as well.

But Secretary Ervin believes the state is on solid legal ground in protecting consumers while giving oil companies a chance to invest in future customers.

The administration estimates the tax would bring in two hundred seventy four-million dollars over two years for roads. Ervin says using the tax to build better roads for more drivers should be considered a good investment for oil companies.

AUDIO: Jim Dick reports ( 1:06 MP3 )

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