ThinkProgress filed this report from Clarence, NY.
As oil companies rake in record profits at the pump, American taxpayers are bearing the burden of increasing gas prices and the $7 billion in oil subsidies that are padding oil company pockets. In New York’s 26th district, where people are paying at least $4/gallon, constituents will vote next Tuesday in a special election to replace disgraced former Rep. Chris Lee (R).
Yesterday, Democratic candidate Kathy Hochul stopped by Spilios restaurant in Clarence, NY, on the outskirts of Buffalo, to speak with voters. When asked by ThinkProgress if she would consider cutting oil tax subsidies, Hochul said “absolutely” because oil companies “are doing just fine without” subsidies. Noting that the House Republican budget failed to address those tax breaks while cutting funding for alternative energy research, Hochul said Republicans “are investing in the energy of the past, I think we should continue investing in the energy of the future”:
HOCHUL: I’m glad to see the Senate is standing up on this issue, and I would support that in the House of Representatives. Because right now you’ve got a huge inequity. You got ExxonMobil — [one of] the largest oil companies in this country having absolute record profits at a time of record prices at the pump. The public doesn’t like that. And the fact that they know that those profits are partially driven by huge taxpayer giveaways — compliments of us — says to me that they’re not needing it, they’re doing just fine without that.
So when times are tough, as they are now, we have to look very closely at everything we do, including those subsidies for oil companies. And the Ryan budget would continue that at the same time cutting research and development dollars for alternative energy sources. So [Republicans] are investing in the energy of the past, I think we should continue investing in the energy of the future.”
Her Republican opponent, state assemblywoman Jane Corwin, also seemed to indicate that she’d support cutting some tax breaks for the larger “money-making” companies. But she signed the Americans for Tax Reform’s “Taxpayer Protection Pledge,” in which she promised to “oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.” This pledge is in direct conflict with the elimination of oil tax breaks.
Whatever Corwin may say, there is no question on what the majority of Americans believe. As the Wonk Room’s Brad Johnson noted, 74 percent of Americans support eliminating oil subsidies altogether.