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Letter to the Senate Supporting Senator Menendez’ Repeal Big Oil Tax Subsidies Act

March 28, 2012

Dear Senator:

On behalf of the more than three million members of the National Education Association, we urge you to VOTE YES on S. 2204, the Repeal Big Oil Tax Subsidies Act scheduled for a floor vote this week. 

NEA believes that those most able to do so must pay their fair share toward deficit reduction.  We have to choose between two very different visions for America – one that places the American Dream within greater reach for every American, and one in which we continue to cater only to the wealthiest.  We cannot balance the budget on the backs of working families, children, and seniors while exempting our wealthiest corporations.  Deficit reduction must include efforts to raise revenue, such as that proposed in S. 2204. 

Over the last decade, the Big Five oil companies - BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Shell - made nearly $1 trillion in profits -- in the last year alone, the figure reached a record-breaking $137 billion in profits.  And for every penny that the price of gasoline increases, Big Oil makes an additional $200 million per quarter.  At the same time, millions of middle class families are struggling to make ends meet, and too many families find themselves falling into poverty.  These large inequities run completely counter to our values as a nation.

The increasing erosion of the corporate tax base has brought us to the point where, measured by either corporate taxes as a percentage of GDP or corporate taxes as a percentage of overall tax revenues, the US ranks substantially below other OECD nations.  As many as two out of three US corporations paid zero in federal income taxes over much of the previous decade, according to the GAO.  The share of federal revenues coming from corporate taxes has shrunk by two-thirds in the last fifty years.  This is seriously undermining our ability to make the necessary investments in education that are sorely needed in order to return our nation to prosperity. 

The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates the revenue saved from repealing oil and gas subsidies at $24 billion over ten years. The bill will extend important alternative energy tax incentives for a cost of $11.7 billion over ten years. The rest of the savings will be used for deficit reduction. 

The Repeal Big Oil Tax Subsidies Act reflects a fair approach to deficit reduction – holding big corporations accountable and raising revenues to help with economic recovery.  We urge your support for this important legislation.

Sincerely,

Kim Anderson
Director, Center for Advocacy

Mary Kusler
Director of Government Relations