The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Reject Energy Tax Increases

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted February 11, 2010

An op-ed by Bernard Weinstein, associate director of the Macguire Energy Institute and an adjunct professor of Business Economics at the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University, adds some much needed common sense to today's political discussion about energy taxes.

As we've reported in this space, the administration's 2011 budget proposes to raise the oil and natural gas industry's tax burden by about $80 billion. Weinstein says the plan "should be rejected hands down."

Writing in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Weinstein says the administration's proposal threatens the U.S. economy, security, and the environment. At a time when nearly one in 10 American workers is unemployed, he argues that raising taxes on energy is "the last thing our struggling economy needs right now."

Weinstein also calls attention to the punitive nature of one tax proposal that singles out refiners from all other manufacturers and penalizes them by removing the Section 199 tax deduction:

"Because refinery margins are at their lowest level in decades, removal of this deduction would further limit America's ability to produce its own gasoline and diesel fuel while giving an unfair advantage to foreign competitors who would be unaffected by the provision. What's more, reducing our refiners' ability to bring products to market will increase price volatility at the pump and transfer more American jobs and revenue overseas."

Furthermore, Weinstein notes that higher energy taxes could "derail the shale gas revolution" that is greatly expanding U.S. supplies of clean-burning natural gas.

For more information, read the full text of Weinstein's op-ed.