The Albuquerque Journal was kind enough to publish the Op-Ed found below.
Quit blaming ‘Big Oil’ for every problem
Sunday, March 17, 2013
It is unfortunate that while the country is wrestling with a huge debt problem made more difficult by a lingering recession, one of our most vital job-producing industries gets continually scorned and targeted for tax increases.
Why do President Obama and many of his party in Congress constantly refer to our most successful American oil and gas companies as “Big Oil?” This vital, inherently American sector of our economy is taking steps to help us achieve energy independence.
These American companies also serve as a buffer against foreign oil competitors – the government-owned or -controlled firms from unfriendly regimes in Venezuela, Iran, Russia and China, among others.
Obama and New Jersey Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez are leading the charge to force these companies to pay income tax at a doubled rate – once in the foreign countries where they drill, and then again in the United States. No other industrial sector has such a requirement, and no other country treats its own multinationals that way.
Many in Washington maneuver this issue with misleading terminology, arguing that “Big Oil receives subsidies.” However, these are not actually “subsidies” they want to eliminate, but, rather are routine tax deductions made available to all American manufacturers.
A December article in Forbes states that “Despite the immense populist appeal of eliminating these so-called subsidies, the reason it becomes so difficult to eliminate them is that they aren’t really subsidies in the way most people think of subsidies. They are not a transfer of money from the U.S. Treasury to fossil fuel companies, which is what people envision when they hear the term ‘fossil fuel subsidies.’ Anti-oil politicians call them subsidies, but when you and I do our taxes, we call them ‘tax deductions.’”
In fact, U.S. energy companies already pay significantly higher taxes than the average manufacturing firm. For example, in 2012 Exxon’s effective tax rate was about 41 percent, while Apple paid 25 percent during the comparable period.
There are, fortunately, a few in Washington who have been vocal in their opposition to tax increases on the oil and natural gas industry, recognizing the potential economic harm these proposals would have on our economy.
Sen. Mary Landrieu, quoted in The Hill’s Energy & Finance blog on Feb. 13, stated, “My position is that no industry should be singled out to be punished because they are a legal, robust industry.” She goes on to say that “while I most certainly am supportive of a review for the whole tax code of all industries, I don’t see why the oil-and-gas industry should have to be ever singled out.”
I have plenty I could write in my own words, but I believe the words spoken above by others, are factual, powerful – and should be persuasive to common-sense Americans and to our members of Congress.