There is big money in oil, gas, and minerals – big not only in absolute terms but also, and more importantly, relative to the overall size of many resource-endowed countries. Upfront investment costs are commonly huge, as are the potential rewards (and losses). How all this gets shared between the governments that control access to the resources and those who discover and exploit them-that is, how these resources are taxed – can have a powerful impact on the economic and political fate of resource-rich countries.
I do not have any doubt that when we proceed to shift the taxes around so that one set of taxpayers pays a lot more taxes and somebody else pays a lot less taxes, the people who benefit from it do not remember it very long. They tend to feel that it should have been that way all the time, and the people who are paying the additional taxes resent it very bitterly. —Sen. Russell Long