Big Oil Defends Profits

Industry executives say Congress shouldn't end tax breaks
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 12, 2011 1:15 PM CDT
Chevron's John Watson, Shell's Marvin Odum, BP's H. Lamar McKay, ConocoPhillips' James Mulva, Exxon's Rex Tillerson testify.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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(Newser) – Oil executives had to march up to Capitol Hill today amid $4 gas prices and huge profits to argue why their industry deserved to keep tax subsidies. In response to Democrats' criticism, the execs said ending their tax breaks would do nothing to bring down gas prices, hurt R&D, and unfairly target their industry. A sampling:

  • Democrat Max Baucus: "Given profits of $35 billion in just the first quarter alone, it's hard to find evidence that repealing these subsidies would cut domestic production or cause layoffs."
  • Chevron's John Watson: "Don't punish our industry for doing its job well. ... We are not asking for special treatment. We are asking for the same treatment as other industries.”

  • Democrat Jay Rockefeller: Oil companies are "deeply and profoundly committed to sharing nothing."
  • Republican Orrin Hatch: "Americans are rightly upset about the cost of gasoline. And the solution being offered here? Let's raise some taxes."
  • Exxon's Rex Tillerson: "If you want to repeal it, repeal it for everybody," referring to a tax break for domestic manufacturing.
  • Democrat Chuck Schumer: "Do you think that your subsidy is more important than the financial aid we give to students to go to college?"
  • ConocoPhillips' James Mulva: "It's a very difficult question for me. It's two totally different questions."
Full coverage from the AP, LA Times, Wall Street Journal, and MarketWatch.

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