baltimoresun.com

« Miller: Special session should include tax hikes and pension shift | Main | Cummings, Issa battle over federal contractors proposal »

May 11, 2011

Cardin asks oil companies to give up tax breaks

On the day before the heads of the country’s five largest oil companies are due for a Senate Finance Committee grilling on tax subsidies, Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin is asking them to admit that they no longer need the breaks.

The Maryland Democrat is a co-sponsor of the Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act, which supporters say will save the federal government $4 billion annually. The so-called Big Five – Exxon Mobil, Conoco Phillips, Chevron, Shell and BP America – have reported a total $36 billion in profits for the first quarter of 2011.

“At a time of soaring gas prices and record deficits, the five most profitable oil companies do not need, or deserve, a handout from the American taxpayer,” Cardin said in a statement.
He has joined fellow Finance Committee Democrats Robert Menendez of New Jersey, Bill Nelson of Florida, Chuck Schumer of New York and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan in a letter to the oil executives.

“We are sure you will agree that our nation’s mounting debt is a serious threat to our recovering economy,” they wrote. “But if we are truly serious about cutting our deficit, it is imperative that we start by getting rid of wasteful and ineffective corporate subsidies that have outlived their usefulness. … The former President of Shell Oil, John Hofmeister, had the courage to say, in no uncertain terms, that your companies no longer need these giveaways. We urge you, in your testimony tomorrow before the Senate Finance Committee, to acknowledge the same.”

Complete text of the letter follows, after the jump.

Rex W. Tillerson John S. Watson
Exxon Mobil Corporation Chevron Corporation
5959 Las Colinas Boulevard 6001 Bollinger Canyon Road
Irving, Texas 75039-2298 San Ramon, CA 94583

James J. Mulva Marvin Odum
ConocoPhillips Shell
600 North Dairy Ashford One Shell Plaza
P.O. Box 2197 910 Louisiana Street
Houston, TX 77252-2197 Houston, TX. 77002

H. Lamar McKay
BP America
501 Westlake Park Blvd
Houston, TX. 77079


Dear Sirs:

As members of the Senate Committee on Finance, we eagerly await your testimony at our panel’s hearing tomorrow. We urge you to take this opportunity to publicly admit that, given your companies' prodigious profits, you no longer need taxpayer subsidies. We hope you will do the right thing for our country's fiscal health and endorse their discontinuation.

We are sure you will agree that our nation’s mounting debt is a serious threat to our recovering economy. But if we are truly serious about cutting our deficit, it is imperative that we start by getting rid of wasteful and ineffective corporate subsidies that have outlived their usefulness. That is why we introduced legislation yesterday—the Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act (S. 940)—that would end $21 billion in projected taxpayer subsidies for the five largest integrated oil companies. The former President of Shell Oil, John Hofmeister, had the courage to say, in no uncertain terms, that your companies no longer need these giveaways. We urge you, in your testimony tomorrow before the Senate Finance Committee, to acknowledge the same.

We agree with the vast majority of Americans that taxpayer subsidization of your companies is no longer necessary. When many of these tax breaks were passed into law, oil was less than $20 a barrel. Today, the price of oil is hovering around $100 a barrel. Because of the exponential increase in the price of oil, the companies you successfully manage have reported a combined total of $36 billion in corporate profits in the first quarter of 2011 alone. That amounts to a staggering $2.8 billion per week of profit.

Every single one of us has heard from constituents back home who are struggling with the rising price of gasoline. While families across the country are being squeezed, your industry is doing better than ever. And yet the U.S. government continues to dole out $4 billion a year in tax breaks to your companies. These subsidies are not sustainable, and we intend to end them.

We are hopeful that you will agree that S. 940 makes economic sense in our shared goal of putting our country back on the right fiscal track.

Sincerely,

Senator Bob Menendez
Senator Chuck Schumer
Senator Debbie Stabenow
Senator Bill Nelson
Senator Ben Cardin

Posted by Matthew Hay Brown at 5:34 PM | | Comments (9)
        

Comments

Ben is a nebish. Nice guy. Knows nothing about how money is made so taxes can apply to profits. Ben would not know a large or small profit. He has never made anything nor found anything of value. Why doesn't he just use his powerful finance committee post to move a single tax rate, no deducitons for anyone including Ben's rich supporters who pump milions into charities and into Israeli institutions and then write off the gifts. I think finding oil and refilning gasoline does more for the security of the US than finacing an upper middle class State of israel that insists that its native population work for low wages, no real voice, and inferior social and education servces. Ben, what do you know? Not much. I do know this Democat oil tax will raise gas prices more and create less oil, not more. Drill baby drill, and in the Chesapeake Bay if possible. Huh, Ben?

didactic, you are nothing but an uninformed ignorant hater, and you know what you are. m sure your wife must love you. Are you an unemployed nothing? Yes, I think you are a mad little boy now.

If Ben were serious about the debt and spending he would address the tax code and the real spending problems....Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid....Let's tackle entitlements Ben

The government makes far more on every gallon of gasoline sold than do oil companies, who actually own and distribute gasoline.
If Ben wants the consumers to feel less pain at the pump, let's get rid of the gas tax

Dear "fafla..."-such labels? "Uninformed hater". What's uninformed? Ben's discoloed supporters? His support for Israel? His targeting of some companies and not others? His lack of a realistic plan to provide the energy our nation needs?

Read the Organizers Memo given to your compassionate corps of progressives after Ms Giffords unfortunate injuries caused by the mad shooter in Tucson(unconnected to any conservative organizations BTW). You are not supposed to be personal if you disagree with others of dissimilar views.( I consider Nebish to be a cute, almost affectionate term)

If you don't, OK. I like Ben Cardin. But his judgement as to complex corporate/financial matters is clouded by his apparent need to be accepted by leftwing ideologues. Too bad.

Whether entitlements are a problem or not, there's no reason for big oil to get special tax breaks. Let them pay like everyone else does. They're not unique or special.

after reading some of the comments,i'm suprised no one has mentioned how much taxes by the state and federal gov are collected per gallon. Belive me do the math $36 billon is cump change compaired to what big brother collects.

Get real!! These fraudulent conservative oil conglomerates are no better than fraudulent welfare recipients whom they and their political affiliates (GOP) denigrate along with all recipients of subsidies.

Why is it that two-faced scumbags like Little Lying Benny take money from the same people he claims are gouging? Benny claimed that he hated the financial companies and banks who caused the near collapse of the country a couple of years ago and have us at the brink as well today. I made a comment to Benny that he hated these guys so much that he decided to teach them a lesson by giving them over $800 billion and they then gave hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses to the people who bankrupted the companies as well as the country. they then in turn gave campaign money to Benny and other two-faced politicians like himself. Benny said,that was a lie. he said, they can't give the money away for bonuses. Benny lied then and took money from these people and lies today by continuing to take money. Benny voted to give these types of tax breaks away all the time and now thinks that these should be eliminated.

Post a comment

All comments must be approved by the blog author. Please do not resubmit comments if they do not immediately appear. You are not required to use your full name when posting, but you should use a real e-mail address. Comments may be republished in print, but we will not publish your e-mail address. Our full Terms of Service are available here.

Verification (needed to reduce spam):

-- ADVERTISEMENT --

Headlines from The Baltimore Sun
About the bloggers
Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
Most Recent Comments
Sign up for FREE local news alerts
Get free Sun alerts sent to your mobile phone.*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for local news text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Breaking News newsletter
When a big news event breaks, we'll e-mail you the basics with links to up-to-date details.
Sign up

Blog updates
Recent updates to baltimoresun.com news blogs
 Subscribe to this feed
Charm City Current
Stay connected