SOTU Redux: Tax Oil and Natural Gas Companies More


Posted by Chris Prandoni on Wednesday, January 25th, 2012, 3:02 PM PERMALINK


Continuing to demonize some of America’s largest employers, Obama mischaracterizes tax policies employed by the oil and natural gas industry during last night’s State of the Union speech:

“We have subsidized oil companies for a century. That’s long enough. It’s time to end the taxpayer giveaways to an industry that’s rarely been more profitable, and double-down on a clean energy industry that’s never been more promising. Pass clean energy tax credits and create these jobs.”

This is simply not true. The federal government has not given oil and natural gas producers a penny to explore and develop America’s vast natural resources. Mischaracterizing standard cost recovery practices employed by oil and natural gas producers as subsidies, Obama is looking to justify repealing these longstanding tax deductions.

In fact, Obama’s antagonistic stance towards oil and natural gas companies is antithetical to tax policies he advocated for just last year. Arguing that full business expensing creates jobs by lowering companies’ investment costs, Obama championed this policy for small businesses. The benefits of faster cost recovery are never more evident than in the capital intensive oil and natural gas industry. A Wood-Mackenzie study shows that repealing oil and natural gas producers’ tax deductions would cause companies to delay or scrap future projects and could kill 170,000 jobs.

And it’s not like oil and natural gas companies aren’t paying huge sums to the treasury. Already coughing up around $85 million a day, the oil and natural gas industry’s earnings are taxed at an effective rate of 41 percent. Compare this to the average income tax rate of 26 percent for non-oil and natural gas companies in the S&P 500 and it is clear that oil companies are paying their “fair share.”

Every year Obama’s budget has proposed a $90 billion tax increase on oil and natural gas producers, companies responsible for more than 9 million American jobs. Here are the cost recovery proposals he is really trying to eliminate:

 

Tax Increase

FY 2012

FY 2012-2021

Industry Impact

Increase Amortization Period

$59 million

$1.4 billion

$1.4 billion

Dual Capacity

$535 million

$10.8 billion

$10.8 billion

Repeal Percentage Depletion:

          ~Oil and Natural Gas

          ~Hard Minerals

 

$607 million

$78 million

 

$11.2 billion

$1.35 billion

 

$11 billion

$1.35 billion

Repeal Intangible Drilling

and Expensing of Exploration Costs:

           ~Oil and Natural Gas

           ~Hard Minerals

 

 

$1.9 billion

$78 million

 

 

$12.4 billion

$1.35 billion

 

 

$12.4 billion

$1.35 billion

IRS Section. 199 Repeal

           ~Oil and Natural Gas

           ~Hard Minerals

 

$902 million

$20 million

 

$18 billion

$410 million

 

$18 billion

$410 million

Repeal Tertiary Injectants

$6 million

$92 million

$92 million

Superfund

$1.4 billion

$20.8 million

$10 billion

LIFO

$2.6 billion*

$52.9 billion

$22.5 billion

Passive Loss

$23 million

$203 million

$200 million

Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund

$35 million

$451 million

$451 million          

 

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