Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Congress Eyes New Taxes on Energy

The robber barons of the energy industry may soon be getting a surprise visit from the IRS. In response to widespread disgust over energy profits, the Senate is considering an audit of the tax records of fifteen top oil and energy companies. The last time the Senate chose to do this was for another li'l Texas start-up by the name of Enron.
In their request, the senators noted not only the industry profits, but "an extremely lucrative retirement plan by one oil and gas industry executive, benefits which may have been subsidized in part by the taxpayers."
Now who do you suppose that could be? Can't you just see ConocoPhillips' James Mulva giving Exxon Mobil's Lee Raymond the look and saying, "See what you did? Now you've ruined it for everyone!" On second thought it's more likely he's thrilled. Raymond's excesses have set a new benchmark for the golden parachute that other CEO's can someday hope to emulate.

But this part can't make them too happy:
House-Senate conference, negotiating a large tax bill, is considering a provision that would change accounting rules for oil inventories and require the five biggest oil companies to pay $4.3 billion more in taxes. The measure passed the Senate but was viewed as essentially dead this week because of opposition from House GOP lawmakers. The White House opposed the idea, too, when it surfaced in November and threatened to veto the entire bill because of it. Grassley said Wednesday that high fuel prices revived the inventory tax plan and it "is still being negotiated." His House counterpart in the negotiations, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas, R-Calif., said the issue has not been decided. He denied he had rejected it. Additionally, there is broad bipartisan support for scuttling other breaks given to oil companies only eight months ago when President Bush signed an energy bill.
It's amazing what Presidential and congressional approval ratings in the low 30's and 20's respectively, not to mention an upcoming election, can do to bring out the prairie populism, isn't it?

1 comment:

Bradley Bowen said...

These people make me sick. They are definitely price-gouging... Republicans and Democrats both agree that something has to be done. What makes me angry, though, is that now Senator Frist is trying to say that the move toward new sources of energy is "Republican-led." Give me a break! The Democrats have been pushing for alternative fuel since the Carter administration.