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Reid's Energy Policy: Would Someone Please Change Channels?
Posted By: Pete Sepp - 09/24/10

It may be premiere season for many favorite TV programs, but in Harry Reid’s Senate, it looks like nothing but reruns – bad reruns.

Just over a week ago, the Senate Majority Leader said that a costly federal renewable energy standard (RES) would “absolutely” be under consideration as the Senate attempts to churn out a few more pieces of legislation before the end of the year. This week, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) announced that they will be introducing a stand-alone federal RES rather than combining it with other bills.

These statements might not have garnered so much media attention if the Senate hadn’t already tuned out this terrible program, and that’s primarily because an RES simply hasn’t had the support in the Senate or in the public.  One reason why it hasn’t gained much traction is because an RES would undoubtedly raise energy costs for taxpayers by forcing every state to use expensive and often unavailable, mandated renewable sources.

 Apparently the reruns will keep coming. Sen. Reid’s team has said the renewable energy standard might have the best chance of passage during a lame-duck session, after the American people have already voiced their opposition to the scheme and to the lawmakers who back it. In other words, a federal renewable energy standard is such bad policy that if they passed it before an election, they would all surely be voted out by the public.

And for good reason. In April, NTU produced a map showing the severity of the economic damage to each state as a result of the proposed federal RES. To determine the severity, we looked at each state’s unemployment rate as of February 2010, the net electricity generation by coal, the projected increase in electricity bills by 2030 because of an RES, the projected loss of jobs by 2030, and how much of a state’s electricity generation meets Congress’s definition of “renewable.”

We found that almost every state will suffer to some degree as a result of federally mandated energy sources, but the states with higher unemployment rates will hurt the most because they, generally speaking, tend to rely more on traditional sources like coal in the first place. When you add the higher costs of renewable energy, the result is disastrous for many states.

Check out our data and see for yourself. Then, tell Harry Reid that America can’t afford a federal renewable energy standard, regardless of how many times he reruns it.

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National Virtual Rally for Jobs
Posted By:  - 09/23/10

Thousands rallied for jobs in Texas, Ohio, New Mexico, Illinois and Colorado, but it’s not too late to participate if you don’t live in one of those five states. All this week Americans (165, 911 to be exact!) have been joining the National Virtual Rally for Jobs to take our message straight to lawmakers in Washington and protest efforts to hike taxes on the oil and natural gas that fuels our economy. You can too!

The message is clear: Americans want jobs, not taxes!

  • We want smart energy policies that promote domestic resources;
  • We want smart energy policies that protect and create jobs; and
  • We want smart energy policies that preserve and enhance our energy security.

Nothing beats the power of grassroots activism and it is up to you to speak up and let your voice be heard. Visit www.rallyforjobs.org and join in the march! We need your help to fight these harmful tax proposals. Our economic future depends on it.

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Senate Rejects Job-Killing Tax Hike New 1099 reporting requirements remain
Posted By:  - 09/15/10

Yesterday, the Senate voted on two amendments that addressed the new 1099 reporting requirements in the health care law. The mandate requires businesses to submit 1099 forms for all purchased goods and services costing $600 or more, thereby subjecting businesses to even more burdensome regulations.

Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) introduced an amendment (to the small business bill) that would have merely scaled back the new reporting requirements, while imposing a massive, discriminatory tax hike to supposedly “pay for” his proposal. Senator Nelson’s amendment would have eliminated the 199 section in the tax code that allows all domestic manufacturers to deduct six percent of their income, but only for American oil companies. Increased costs would have inevitably been passed down to consumers in the form of higher gas prices and electricity bills, and could have also endangered many jobs connected with an industry that employs or supports nine million Americans.

Senator Mike Johanns (R-NE) introduced an amendment to fully repeal the new 1099 mandate without raising taxes.

We sent a Vote Alert to Senate offices urging a NO vote on the Nelson Amendment and a YES vote on the Johanns Amendment. Both amendments failed.

The Senate is likely to vote on final passage of the small business lending bill by the end of the week.

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Colorado Rally for Jobs
Posted By:  - 09/09/10

There is only one more live Rally for Jobs remaining, and Coloradoans, it's at a location near you!

Colorado will be hosting the final Rally for Jobs tomorrow, September 10, at Two Rivers Convention Center in Grand Junction to protest legislation that would further threaten our already embattled economy and energy security. Speakers include Rick Thurtle, Century 21 Realtor and TV Personality; Reeves Brown, Executive Director, Club 20; Denny Behrens, Colorado Mule Deer Association and Colorado Bow Hunters Association; Jim West, President and CEO Jim West Builder, Inc and Old West Oil Field Services; Diane Schwenke, President and CEO Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce; John Justman, Self Employed Farmer and Mesa County Planning Commission; Mathew Burtis, Business Manager of the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters; Bonnie Petersen, Green Star Homes; and Diane Miller, Vice President, Shaw Construction.

Join activists from your state and NTU members at a Rally for Jobs to send a message back to Washington: NO to higher taxes that will increase unemployment and shove our economy into the ditch!

Doors open at 11am. We'll see you there!

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New Mexico and Illinois Rally for Jobs
Posted By:  - 09/03/10

Hey, New Mexico and Illinois!

In keeping with our efforts to fight proposed energy taxes through ad campaigns and grassroots activism, we want to make you aware of two additional rallies at locations near you:

New Mexico will be hosting a Rally for Jobs next Wednesday, September 8, at McGee Park in Farmington to protest legislation that would further threaten our already embattled economy and energy security. Speakers include Marita Noon, Executive Director, Citizens Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE); Dr. James Henderson, San Juan County Commissioner and Former President, San Juan College; and Rep. Tom Taylor (R-San Juan County), Minority Leader, New Mexico House of Representatives.

Illinois will be hosting their Rally for Jobs on Wednesday, September 8, at Pipefitters Training Center in Mokena. Speakers include Jim Roolf, "Mr. Will County;” James Sweeney, International Union of Operating Engineers; Joe Cook, Mayor of Channahon; Mike Ditka, Former Chicago Bears Player and Coach; Brian Kasal, Illinois Energy Forum; and John Grueling, Will County Center For Economic Development.

Doors open at 11:00am. Visit www.rallyforjobs.org for more details!

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NTU Campaign to Fight Energy Taxes
Posted By: Pete Sepp - 09/03/10

Despite a poor forecast for economic recovery this year, the Senate may soon repeal tax provisions specifically designed to encourage domestic employment, while simultaneously hitting U.S. energy companies with new taxes that will place their overseas counterparts at a competitive advantage. In response to these proposals, NTU launched a new nationwide TV and radio ad campaign to educate taxpayers about the negative economic impacts of these proposed tax hikes.

The most significant of the new tax increases would eliminate the “dual capacity” tax credits currently enjoyed by all U.S. companies – but only for the oil and gas industry. In addition to costing jobs, this selective double tax will work to the benefit of state-owned energy companies in places like Venezuela, China and Russia. And further confounding logic, these tax increases could actually erode the $160 billion in annual tax revenues the industry already provides to government coffers, as the position of U.S. companies abroad is financially weakened.

Unfortunately, this outrageous double tax for American energy isn’t the end of Washington’s whack-a-mole game. In a supreme twist of irony, the Senate is scheduled to vote on a proposal September 14th that would attach additional job-killing energy taxes to the “Small Business Jobs” bill. An amendment from Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) would eliminate the Section 199 manufacturers’ deduction, but again, only for the oil and gas industry. This deduction was put in place for the explicit purpose of domestic job creation; hardly ideal compared to reforming the whole monstrous corporate tax code, but moderately helpful in offsetting high rates.

The oil and gas sector employs or supports 9 million Americans and a trillion dollars of economic activity annually. Reliable, affordable energy supplies also reduce costs and instability across the economy as a whole. New taxes that reduce production and increase expenses ultimately fall on the backs of all consumers and businesses – not just the oil and gas industry.

If we let Congress get away with this, the predatory tax proposals will keep coming, and it will get tougher to extend all of the vital 2001 and 2003 tax relief laws. That’s why our ad campaign – and our grassroots mobilization effort – is going full throttle. We urge citizens to take action now!

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Ohio Rally for Jobs
Posted By:  - 09/02/10

Ohioans, listen up! Texas isn’t the only state rallying together to protest taxes on oil and natural gas – you can too!

Ohio Rally for Jobs will occur next Tuesday morning in Canton, OH. Speakers include Matt Patrick, 1100 WTAM Radio; David Wolters, Chair, Buckeye Energy Forum; Rebecca Heimlich, Ohio State Director, Americans for Prosperity; Mike Cary, President, Ohio Coal Association; Tom Stewart, Executive Vice President, Ohio Oil and Gas Association; Rhonda Reda, Ohio Oil and Gas Association; Karen Wright, CEO, Ariel Corporation; Tom Jackson, Ohio Grocers Association; Pam Hurley, Ohio Farmer; Dennis Barton, Army Veteran, Iraq; Deborah Owens, Political Science Professor, The University of Akron; and Seth Morgan, Ohio State Representative.

Join activists from your state and NTU members at Ohio’s Rally for Jobs to send a message back to Washington: NO to higher taxes that will increase unemployment and shove our economy into the ditch.

Who: Thousands of energy activists and NTU members

What: Rally for Jobs

When: September 7, 2010 – Doors open at 11:00am

Where: Canton, OH – Canton Memorial Civic Center (1101 Market Avenue North, Canton, OH 44702)

We’ll see you there!

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Texas Rally for Jobs
Posted By:  - 08/31/10

Attention Texans!

America still has 15 million people out of work and the Obama Administration and Congress are debating legislation that will cost us even more jobs! That’s why we’re inviting you to a Rally for Jobs tomorrow, September 1 to protest efforts to hike taxes on oil and natural gas and to extend the Administration’s crippling moratorium on offshore energy exploration.

WE NEED YOUR HELP. Nothing beats the power of grassroots activism and it is up to you to speak up and let your voice be heard. Attendance is absolutely free – come on out and learn what you can do to stop these harmful proposals. Join activists from your community and NTU members at the Rally for Jobs to send a message back to Washington: NO to higher taxes that will increase unemployment and shove our economy into the ditch!

Rallies will occur in Houston, Port Arthur and Corpus Christi, so choose the city nearest you. Doors open at 10:30am at each of the following locations:

Houston: George R. Brown Convention Center (1001 Avenida de las Americas, Houston, TX 77010)

Port Arthur: Port Arthur Civic Center (3401 Cultural Center Drive, Port Arthur, TX  77642)

Corpus Christi: American Bank Center Convention Center - Henry Garrett Ballroom (1901 North Shoreline Boulevard, Corpus Christi, TX 78401)

Only efforts made by taxpayers like you will help turn the tide against their harmful plan. We need your help to fight these tax hikes on the oil and natural gas that fuels our economy! Our economic future depends on it.

We hope to see you tomorrow at Texas Rally for Jobs!

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Subsidizing Inaccuracy
Posted By: Pete Sepp - 08/19/10

In a supreme twist of irony, Congress's own Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) adds further support to the suspicion that The New York Times and its ideological minions have recently been playing fast and loose with oil industry tax numbers.  What's the irony? Using one of the tax-and-spenders' favorite methodologies, a report from JCT published several months ago had already proved them wrong.

In a story earlier this summer, Institute for Liberty refuted claims made in a New York Times article that the American energy industry was dodging taxes through loopholes and energy credits.  As just about everyone outside of far-left circles understands, American businesses of all kinds, including energy companies, normally pay plenty in taxes. 

But the Times and its acolytes could have saved themselves a lot of trouble by reading the JCT report first. Entitled "Estimates of Federal Tax Expenditures for Fiscal Years 2009-2013," the document identifies "reductions in income tax liabilities that result from special tax provisions

or regulations that provide tax benefits to particular taxpayers." This approach needs to be taken with more than a grain of salt. Some of the largest "tax expenditures" identified in the report include the mortgage interest deduction and tax deferral on 401 (k) contributions. In these cases, the "particular taxpayers" who "benefit" number in the tens of millions.

Do each and every one of these provisions constitute good policy? Certainly not. But unless Congress is willing to consider getting rid of the whole system and replacing it with a simplified flat tax or Fair Tax arrangement, repealing any of them raises someone's tax burden. Moreover, deciding not to tax a certain activity isn't a government "expenditure" – unless we believe that government has first dibs on every single penny in our pockets.

Nonetheless, let's grant the big-government crowd their contention for a moment. As the graphic below, using JCT data, clearly illustrates, the firms most representative of so-called "big oil" receive only a fraction of the amount in energy-specific "tax expenditures" as compared to the renewables sector. Renewables are projected to receive an average of $12.5 billion in "tax expenditures" each year between FY 2009 and FY 2013, while major companies in the demonized American oil and gas industry are slated for less than a billion dollars.

Probably not the results those tax-and-spenders were expecting.

subsidy

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Taxing American Energy Production
Posted By:  - 08/06/10

Last night, Senator Bill Nelson unveiled an amendment to H.R. 5297, the House-passed small business bill, that would impose harsh new taxes on American energy production by repealing the Section 199 domestic manufacturing deduction for major oil companies. This amendment comes in response to the Republican amendment, offered by Senator Mike Johanns (R-NE), to permanently repeal Section 1099 modifications in the new health care law. I know this can be confusing, so let me break it down for you:

Obamacare contains a provision that requires companies to submit 1099 forms for goods or services purchased from a vendor for $600 or more. This would entail extremely burdensome regulations on businesses at a time when many are struggling amidst the dismal economic climate. Both Republicans and Democrats have expressed concern over these reporting requirements, but their approaches vary greatly. The Johanns Amendment would repeal Section 1099 modifications altogether, but the Nelson Amendment would simply scale them back by exempting businesses with 25 or fewer employees and raising the payment threshold from $600 to $5,000. What's most troubling about Senator Nelson's amendment, however, is the pay-for: it would repeal Section 199 that allows integrated oil companies to deduct six percent of their income. We sent a letter to selected Senate offices this afternoon (in advance of a Senate-wide communication effort) to highlight the potential devastating effects of such a tax hike. Here's a sample paragraph from the letter:

The amendment "would be 'paid for' by completely eliminating the 199 deduction in the tax code, resulting in a significant and discriminatory levy on oil and gas companies. Increased costs would inevitably be passed down to consumers in the form of higher gas prices and electricity bills, and could also endanger many jobs connected with or supported by the industry. In addition, this punitive tax policy could further hinder our ability to bounce back from the current financial crisis – a liability our nation simply cannot afford."

The Senate will take up the Nelson Amendment when they reconvene in September. We urge a NO vote and will keep all of you apprised of any developments this next month.

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