The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Energy Taxes: Connecting the Dots

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted February 17, 2010

To understand the potential impact of the administration's proposed budget, one must be able to connect the dots. Simply put, one must be able to anticipate how a policy proposed by the federal government could eventually affect the average American consumer.

In an Op-Ed published in the Boston Herald, Mackubin Thomas Owens has connected the dots on the administration's proposed 2011 budget, which contains provisions that would raise taxes on the oil and natural gas industry by about $80 billion. Owens, who is a professor of national security affairs at the Naval War College in Newport, R.I., calls the tax proposal an "assault on the U.S. economy in general and the domestic oil and natural gas industry in particular."

Owens disputes the notion that the current Tax Code provides "subsidies" to the industry. Rather, he says standard tax deductions make it possible for energy companies to continue "providing low-cost energy to the American consumer."

"Fossil-fuel producers are not exactly under-taxed. In 2008 alone, they paid $95.6 billion total income taxes ($23.2 billion to U.S. government at all levels, the rest to foreign governments). Oil and natural gas producers also paid $12.5 billion in U.S. production taxes."

Owens also argues that the administration's budget proposal would impose a tax penalty on the oil and natural gas industry. "In so doing," he says, "it is not punishing fossil fuel producers as much as American consumers."

The full text of Owens' Op-Ed, "Obama budget plan pulls plug on energy," is available here. You can also take action to oppose these new taxes in our Action Center.