This week, GOP lawmakers in Washington are hoping to throw down some taxes on big oil, without actually calling them taxes (because Republicans don’t like the t-word). Instead, they are hoping to guilt oil companies into donating 10 percent of their record profits to the government so they can use it to assist low-income households with heating bills:
Mr. Grassley’s proposal, outlined in letters to three oil and gas industry associations on Tuesday, asks energy companies to contribute 10 percent of their profits to fuel funds operated by states and utility companies that supplement the federal heating assistance program.
“In light of record profits and rising energy costs, it seems only logical for the companies to practice good corporate citizenship by helping low-income families and seniors,” said the Iowa Republican, whose state is one of many in the Midwest where heating bills are expected to rise 50 percent on average this winter.
Mr. Grassley, whose powerful committee writes tax law and oversees charitable organizations, also asked the associations for status reports on charitable giving by the energy companies.
This comes right on the heels of record profits, like Exxon Mobil which reported a $9.9 billion quarterly profit.
Which comes right on the heels of last week’s new program to give federal insurance to oil refiners whose expansion projects are delayed by lawsuits or regulatory snags.
And which comes right on the heels of $14.5 billion in tax breaks and incentives to the energy industry three months ago.
Update: Congress snuck a provision into budget cuts to rent parts of the Alaska National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR) to oil companies for $2.5 billion, which is a good thing considering they could have stupidly given it to them like so many other giveaways.
Another Update: IO Error has a great roundup of all the bills Republicans are trying to shove down the throats of oil companies. It seems for every proposed tax, someone is countering with some refinery land giveaway or relief act for hurricane damage.
Frankly it’s getting to the point where someone needs to compile these bills into a spreadsheet of “give” and “take” columns and run the numbers to see how everything comes out. Give a couple billion here, take a couple billion there… Republicans are baking us a double unbig government cake, right?