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Tax Break Drain for Big Oil

  • Posted by SHFT on April 13, 2013 in Politics
  • Daniel J. Weiss for the Center for American Progress:

    President Barack Obama’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2014 would eliminate $39 billion of special tax breaks for Big Oil companies over the next decade as part of comprehensive business tax reform. These companies earned billions of dollars in recent years due to high oil and gasoline prices and do not need additional support from taxpayers. These tax breaks emerged over the past 100 years to help the then-nascent industry develop, and they relieved the oil and gas industry of $466 billion in tax payments to the federal treasury between 1918 through 2009, according to DBL Investors. Now that the oil and gas industry is fully developed and mature, President Obama’s budget would end this century of largesse.

    The five largest oil companies—BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Shell—earned a combined total of $255 billion in 2011 and 2012, largely a result of higher oil prices. Meanwhile, these companies are producing less oil, have $72 billion in cash reserves, and are using one-quarter of their profits to buy back their own stock to enrich their largest shareholders. (see Table 1) Reuters reported last year that Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and ExxonMobil—the three largest American oil companies—paid half or less of the standard corporate tax rate. President Obama’s budget recognizes that oil companies no longer need tax relief.

    In contrast, the House of Representatives would continue to provide tax subsidies for one of the richest industries in the world. It passed an FY 2014 budget authored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) that retains these existing special tax preferences and provides yet another tax break on top of them. What’s more, the House budget cuts the corporate tax rate by nearly one-third, which would provide more than $2 billion annually in additional tax relief to the five largest oil companies.

    Read the rest at American Progress.

    Photo: President Barack Obama, accompanied by acting budget director Jeff Zients, speaks about his proposed fiscal 2014 proposed budget, April 10, 2013, in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington. (Charles Dharapak / AP)


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