Big Oil fights to keep tax breaks

March 26, 2012 at 4:19 PM
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WASHINGTON, March 26 (UPI) -- The American Petroleum Institute said repealing billions of dollars of tax breaks for oil companies is a "destructive" idea that is politically motivated.

The trade group began an advertising blitz Monday to convince taxpayers repealing the tax breaks would be bad for the economy -- risking jobs and potentially raising prices of gas at the pump, The Hill newspaper reported Monday.

"It's a bad idea, a destructive idea, and we urge all senators to oppose it," API tax policy manager Stephen Comstock said.

The tax repeal bill written by Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., makes an already unfair system more unfair, Comstock said.

"The oil and natural-gas industry paid its fair share and more," he said.

The bill is designed to close down tax loopholes and funnel the new tax revenue toward development of alternative fuels.

Passage of the bill in the Senate is expected to begin with a procedural vote set for Monday night.

In the meantime, the industry has begun a media campaign that will cover Missouri, Massachusetts, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, Maine, Nevada and the District of Columbia.

Each side -- the bill is primarily supported by Democrats and opposed by Republicans -- can point to opposing studies. Some say cutting tax loopholes for oil companies will raise the price of gasoline. Other studies indicate the price at the pump will not be affected.

"We can end wasteful taxpayer subsidies to 'Big Oil' and use these savings to invest in clean energy and create jobs and reduce the deficit," Menendez said Monday.

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