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Is it time to look at oil company tax breaks?

Obama reiterates call for repeal after GOP leader says he was willing to 'take a look at' the multibillion-dollar subsidies.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 26, 2011 7:21PM

This article is by Jim Kunhenn of The Associated Press.


Amid rising gasoline prices at the pump, President Barack Obama urged congressional leaders Tuesday to take steps to repeal oil industry tax breaks, reiterating a call he made in his 2012 budget proposal earlier this year. The White House conceded his plan would do nothing in the short term to lower gas prices.


The president wrote a letter to the bipartisan congressional leadership on Tuesday, a day after Republican House Speaker John Boehner said he was willing to "take a look at" repealing the multibillion-dollar tax subsidies enjoyed by the major oil companies.


Rising gas prices have become a political weight for the White House, with polls showing that as the cost rises at the pump, the president's approval ratings have slipped. Obama has increasingly sought to display action on oil, even as he acknowledges that there is no immediate answer to stem costs


"High oil and gasoline prices are weighing on the minds and pocketbooks of every American family," Obama wrote. But he also added that "there is no silver bullet to address rising gas prices in the short term."


Obama's proposal, spelled out in his past two budget plans, would eliminate a number of tax breaks for oil companies that would generate an estimated $4 billion a year in additional revenue.


The tax breaks -- some in place since the 1920s -- have survived multiple attempts to repeal them in the face of heavy oil industry lobbying.


The Republican response to the president's letter was dismissive.


A Boehner spokesman, Brendan Buck, said Tuesday that Obama's suggestions "would simply raise taxes and increase the price at the pump." Buck said that Boehner's willingness to examine a subsidy did not mean he was advocating its repeal.


Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said: "The president's latest call to raise taxes on U.S. energy is as predictable as it is counterproductive."


Obama's letter was addressed to Boehner, McConnell, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.


Blaming the subsidies on "outdated tax laws," Obama said that money obtained from repealing the breaks should be spent on clean energy initiatives to reduce dependence on foreign oil.


On Monday, Boehner told ABC News that the government is low on revenues and that oil companies "ought to be paying their fair share."


"We certainly ought to take a look at it," Boehner said. "We're at a time when the federal government's short on revenues. We need to control spending but we need to have revenues to keep the government moving."


But Boehner made no commitment to repealing the subsidies. "I want to know what impact this is going to have on job creation in America," he told ABC.


Obama, in his letter, said he was "heartened" by Boehner's remarks. "Our political system has for too long avoided and ignored this important step, and I hope we can come together in a bipartisan manner to get it done."


White House spokesman Jay Carney dismissed suggestions that Obama's letter was motivated by the potential effect of rising gas prices on Obama's political prospects.


"I don't think when somebody sticks the credit card in the pump or pays a cashier the cash for a tank of gas that they're thinking about an election in 2012," he said.


More from MSN Money:


  DON'T CARE WHICH PARTY MOVES ON THIS - BUT- IT'S TIME FOR ALL THE BLOOD SUCKERS TO PAY THEIR SHARE  ..  most of us seniors have had NO raise in our income for over two years now and look how much oil in any form has gone up plus now food and other things are going up ..  IF you want my vote to get back in you better get off your lobby paid for butts and start doing for AMERICA  not just the rich and the big companies .. how many making millions paid NO tax on 15 apr  ??  wake up or out you go .. there are way to many elected people who are afraid to open their mouths against THE PARTY LINE ..  what happened to the gal from wyoming who spoke out against ethanol ??  how much has charlie grassley made from this waste of our money ???  let's build some dams for hydro power .. the cost of water used will not go up like oil or gas .
Apr 29, 2011 9:59AM

This is more of a distraction than anything. It does need to be looked at, but the main issue is we need more domestic production. We need to push for bio diesel fuel instead of stupid ethanol. We need to look at the new nuclear technology that doesn't use urananIum. We need to push for more natural gas usage.

There is so much that needs to be done and for the stupid politicians from both parties it is same old crap. Best thing people can do, is keep throwing out career politicians and elect tea party types ,till the parties get the message. They have violated their fiduciary responsibilities and should be tried for their crimes against the people. Neither party is looking after the average American. They worry about illegal aliens, foreigners, unions, the wealthy, but not average people. They have run this country into the ground and  bankrupted us. THESE CAREER POLITICIANS SHOULD BE PUT IN PRISON FOR THEIR INCOMPETENCE AND FAILURE TO PROTECT OUR FUTURE!

Apr 28, 2011 12:14PM
Let's face it everyone, this is a dictatorship.  It's too bad that we have to VOTE for someone (just another criminal) in order to run this country.  Listen to the American people, they make more sense than any politician ever has.  If we conducted ourselves in the same manner as the politicians who run this country, we would be in Federal prison for a very long time.  So, how much longer do we subsidize the multi-billion dollar profit bearing oil companies with our tax dollars while so many of us have lost everything?
Apr 28, 2011 10:17AM

Awhile ago after and before  a hurricane down south several lumber yards were charging a substantial premium for sheets of plywood. They were fined very heavily for basically taking advantage of a catastrophe.

Now major oil companies are reporting billions in quarterly profits because all aspects of refined oil prices have surged thru the roof. Putting the nations economic well being at risk.

Why is this any different than those lumber yards charging a premium for their plywood ?

During World War 2 one of the major oil companies was selling oil to Germany. They did this because they said they were obligated to honor a contract to supply oil that was in place before the war started.

May 1, 2011 2:53AM
It does no good to whine about oil company tax breaks, they'll just pass the cost of any taxes they pay on to us in the form of gas prices anyhow. Thats the way it works with all these companies that produce our goods we buy, when politicians talk about taxing companies they really mean raising the price we pay for goods. The real problem is when some companies get special treatment over others because of political contributions, government picking winners and losers based on back door deals.
Apr 29, 2011 12:00PM
The big joke is that some people actually think the Republicans are fiscally responsible: history simple does not support that position.  Since Ronny Ray-gun the national debt, as a percentage of GDP, has been on a consistent rise with the exception of Mr Clintons era.  The Republicans are MASTERS at transferring wealth from the Federal coffers to Corporations and the Wealthy class.  Who has all the wealth these days????  It's pretty simple: the greatest transfer of wealth AND debt in history has been at the stewardship of Republicans.  The people of this country have the debt and the Corporations & Wealthy class have the cash.
Apr 29, 2011 9:52PM

gas supply this year is better than last year and demand is lower this year than last year....

thus the price of gas should be lower in most all economic models...

BUT haa the joke is the price is much higher.

exxon mobile is on pace to make 44 billion dollars free and clear profit and pay virtually no tax

exxon to pay less corporate  tax than 160,000,000 americans
come on you righties... this is why   the right can never solve any financial problems

they can't cut every program for the elderly and balance anything... they need to cut big stuff like the military

and they won't .. so why do we need the righties... they just sent all our money to iraq and Afghanistan

then to top that off they won't fund the IRS to chase down the tax cheats... the tax cheats in this country since 2001

have stolen as much as both wars combined and the bailout.... sorry, but you righties need to dump your party and become

an independent because your party is a mess... stop drinking the tea .. look it up if you dare

Oct 17, 2011 11:48AM
So the cost will be passed to consumers. So What. As it stands, the government (as in those of us that pay taxes) is directly subsidizing fuel costs for drivers. In other words, taxpayers are already paying the higher cost. Drop the subsidy. At least then, the cost is spread out among all oil users. If oil companies want to raise prices let them. It will provide more incentive to develop alternatives. People misunderstand oil economics and think that drilling for more oil will lower the cost of oil. Not going to happen. Regardless of the amount of oil anyone can discover, the oil companies will pump just enough to keep the supply flat, and the demand high.
May 4, 2011 7:13PM

They should limit any tax breaks to the amount of tax that a company pays. e.g. GE would get no tax breaks unless they actually paid any. I'm sure it's a similar situation for the big oil companies.

Apr 27, 2011 3:31PM
TTTTTAX the top 5%, balance the damn budget, aand just shut up  the Repubs...
May 4, 2011 10:50AM

If any of the "friends of the Republicans" big corporations, (oil included) wanted to share ANY of their "good fortune" with the "little people" (term used by head of BP), they would do so.  Cutting off their $4 billion tax break would only be symbolic, as they would only pass that 'loss of revenue' on to the "little people" as well.  The true definition of the Republicans'  "Trickle Down Theory"  is that the Republicans in Senate and Congress, along with their corporate, fat-cat endorsers, get access to the second story, while the rest of us (including their stupid, middle and lower class wannabe supporters) get to use the first story of a two story outhouse.

Apr 27, 2011 2:57PM

O'bama wants it look as if he is concerned and is going to do something about the manipulation of oil prices.  Don't be fooled.  He is behind it.  I'll explain.

1. He held up permits for deep water drillers.  He also held up permits for shallow water and

    land drillers.

2. He rescinded his agreement to start drilling off the E. Coast.

3.  The Dems have been holding up drilling in Anwar off the N.Coast of Alaska.

4. Hillary Clinton headed a commission to educate the masses of the middle east, via the

    internet on how to organize and conduct a revolution against the regime of your country.

   This has caused de-stabilization in the middle east with no thought as to who might take

   control of that country in the future.

5. The feds report inventory levels of oil and distillates, which is easily manipulated, in

    order to convince the speculators of the world that there is a shortage.  Why don't they

    report tax revenues off each gallon sold from the pump?  This would be truer.

6. They give incentives for green renewable energy, including cars, which lowers tax

    revenues that the U.S. needs.

7. O'bama wants carbon credits on industry, which is nothing more than a tax on the

    people, so the elititists of the world can open up a new trading venue while using our

    tax dollars to trade with.

8. They perpurtrate the great lie of hydrocarbons causing global warming in order to convince

    the masses that all of these things need to happen.

9. They will stop at nothing to achieve their Liberal agendas of green renewable energy.

The elititists of the world are behind all of this.  They control our election process and their puppets on a string do their bidding.  They also own the analytical agencies, rating agencies, investment houses turned advisers, the news organizations, the media outlets, and the popular search engine internet sites.  This is control of information to the masses.  They profit from high oil prices, from new industries for green renewable energy, from trading in carbon credits, and all at the expense of the people of the world.  Our politicians vote in campaign finance reform that allows corporations to donate more money, while at the same time, special interest groups are not allowed to speak out so many days prior to an election.  Those special interest groups are comprised of people like you and I.  They do not want their voice heard.  They bring the financial system to a point of collapse and their puppets vote to bail them out with tax payer money.   High Oil Prices Hurt Everyone, in the mean time.

     How can we attempt to solve it.  Pay attention to how your representative votes while in office.  If he is not on our side, vote that person out and never vote for them again.  The fresh face takes longer to corrupt than the incumbent/career politician does.  The Liberals have taken over and destroyed the Democratic party.  It is not the party of your grandfathers anymore.  O'bama wants to open up the border with Mexico.  He wants to naturalize illegals.  He wants to allow free cross border truck traffic.  This is all designed to hold down wages and trucking rates.  Our drivers do not want to go to Mexico as it is too dangerous.  Mexican drivers will come here, possibly with unsafe equipment, unable to read road signs and take direction, possibly carrying contraband or drugs, and maybe even bringing in more illegals.  Is this good for the Teamster Union?  Is opening up the border good for anyone who wants to make a decent wage?  You think about it.  Vote these Liberals out.  Most of all VOTE !













May 4, 2011 11:06AM

Chcuklemeister-careful, your white sheet is showing!



Aug 6, 2011 11:17AM
been hearing everyone say oil prices are down below 90.00 dollars? just went to store  has went from 3.55 to 4.09 in less than a week ? WHY????????  OF COURSE THIS IS MOUNT VERNON ,OHIO SOMEONE F---TS AN THEY GO UP ON EVERYTHING, BUT NO GOUGING RIGHT!!!!!!!
May 4, 2011 11:09AM
PS. to chucklemeister:  Burn any crosses on anyone's lawn lately?
Apr 28, 2011 8:42AM
if obama takes the tax cut from oil companies they will just add it to the fuel price who is he trying to impress the ignorant.
Apr 27, 2011 11:53AM
The White House continues the mantra again and again.  Raise the taxes to pay for the overspending. Never a word about attacking the problem by lowering spending.  The democrat party is unable to break out of its idealogy of spend, spend,spend, with complete disregard of how the heck WE are going to pay for it.
Apr 29, 2011 2:55PM
Black jesus has spent more money than all of the other presidents combined!!


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