Tester plan ends $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies to Big Oil executives

Clark Fork Chronicle

After introducing new legislation to hold the world’s largest energy giants accountable to American taxpayers, Senator Jon Tester is calling for end to the $4 billion in “taxpayer handouts” that allow the nation’s top Big Oil executives to pull in billions in profit every year.

America’s five largest oil giants receive more than $4 billion in taxpayer-funded subsidies every year. The same companies recently reported profits of $4 billion every week.

Under the bill Tester cosponsored, every dollar saved by ending oil subsidies and closing tax loopholes will be used to cut the national debt.

“This legislation will restore responsibility and accountability to the oil industry and fairness to all taxpayers—while encouraging more domestic energy production here in America,” Tester said. “And just as importantly, it will help pay down our national debt.”

The Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act includes a specific provision written by Tester to close a loophole that currently allows big oil companies to write off foreign royalty payments as taxes. The loophole allows oil companies to avoid paying taxes in the U.S. while subsidizing foreign jobs and foreign oil production.

“This bill has nothing to do with Conoco’s or Exxon’s ability to operate U.S. refineries or put Americans to work,” Tester said. “It has everything to do with holding their top-level executives accountable to all American taxpayers as they rake in billions in dollars in profits every year. It’s the right thing to do”

Tester, who has repeatedly called for more investment in responsible drilling in Montana’s Bakken Field, noted that eliminating taxpayer handouts will not result in higher gas prices. In fact, the loopholes “expose us to higher gas prices,” because they foster oil production in unstable regions of the world.

A copy of Tester’s provision to close the foreign tax loophole for Big Oil companies is available on his website.