Letter to the editor | Cut tax breaks for oil companies

October 19, 2013 

Additional revenue is needed to wipe out debt. There is no evidence that lowering tax rates will increase revenue. Overhauling the tax code is essential.

Reducing annual tax breaks for oil/gas companies by disallowing companies to write off “intangible drilling costs,” reducing the “depletion allowance,” and other changes will help. As is, the treasury has lost $490 billion with these “incentives.”

I am in good company with this proposal.

In 1950, Harry Truman said, “I know of no loophole in the tax laws so inequitable as the exemptions now enjoyed by oil and mining interests.”

In 1957, Dwight Eisenhower said, “I am not prepared to say it is evil because while we do find, I assume, that a number of rich men take advantage of it unfairly.”

In 1985, Ronald Reagan said, “The oil and gas industry will be asked to pick up a larger share of the national tax burden. … By eliminating this special preference, … those that earn their wealth in the oil industry will be subject to the same taxes as the rest of us. This is only fair.”

In 2005, former oilman George W. Bush said, “With $55 (a barrel) oil, we don’t need incentives to oil and gas companies to explore.” However, under his watch, Congress expanded the depletion allowance and extended the time over which companies could write off exploration.

With a long history of profitability it is time to discontinue tax incentives for big oil, whose lobbyists spent $150 million a year from 2008 to 2012.

Joe French

State College

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