This would not be a bold move. Indeed as Anthony Rubenstein notes, the Golden state stands alone in not taxing oil companies for severing natural resources from state land:
California is the only oil-producing region on the planet where the Oil Companies get away without paying some form of what’s called a severance tax, a royalty paid for the right to “sever” natural resources from the land. Even oil taken from under federal waters off the California coast is subject to an 18.75% federal royalty, but in California’s territory – nothing.
Yes, even Sarah Palin’s Alaska and Rick Perry’s Texas have healthy oil severance taxes. As Senator Evans notes, the oil companies have made trillions from California’s resources so it’s only fair that we benefit from our own collective resources by getting billions back for our schools and parks.
An oil severance tax will not touch the vast majority of California residents, nor would it take jobs out of the state, hurt businesses, or impose an unfair burden on oil companies who are already richer than God and pay ridiculously low property taxes due to the commercial property tax loophole in Proposition 13. And there is absolutely no evidence to suggest that the price will be passed on to consumers at the pump. Contrary to such claims, the last time there was a federal increase in the severance tax it was doubled in the late 1980s and gas prices actually went down, not up.