from Maryland Politics by Matthew Hay Brown
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.”