Monday, August 6, 2007

Hill on the Hill: corporate subsidies?!

Two bills on energy were passed by the House on Saturday. Under HR 2776, the House voted to eliminate $16 billion in tax breaks for oil companies over the next 10 years. Under HR 3221, the House doled out various subsidies for alternative energy-- to both consumers and producers. The bills will go to "conference committee" to be merged with Senate versions of similar legislation.

(As an aside, one of the bills also mandates that 15% of energy production would come from renewable sources. Rep. Tom Udall [D-NM], a co-sponsor of the legislation, claimed that using higher-cost energy sources will lower energy prices for consumers. OK, Tom, please step outside and throw your crack pipe as far away as possible.)

It's interesting that the elimination of a tax break would be sold as a tax increase rather than the reduction of a subsidy. I'm not sure whether this speaks to the Democrats' passion for tax increases or their desire to be seen as increasing taxes on oil companies. In any case, I'm in favor of it. Of course, I'd prefer the elimination of all corporate subsidies-- not just those to oil companies.

Of local interest, Baron Hill voted for both measures. Interestingly, his voting now is as inconsistent as his campaigning was in 2006. He came out vehemently against subsidies to oil companies but just as vehemently for subsidies to alternative energy companies. How about we quit taking money from taxpayers to give any company?


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