US energy industry slams Obama’s fiscal 2013 budget proposal

13 February 2012 17:48  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--A leading US oil and natural gas industry group on Monday charged that President Barack Obama’s new federal budget for fiscal year 2013 wipes out promises the president made in January to boost domestic US energy production.

The White House office of management and budget (OMB) earlier on Monday issued the Obama administration’s proposed $3,800bn (€2,888bn) federal spending plan for 2013, which includes new taxes on wealthy Americans and elimination of tax benefits for oil and gas producers.

Jack Gerard, president of the American Petroleum Institute (API), said that the new White House budget proposal “backtracks on his state of the union commitment” to boost domestic US oil and gas production.

“Instead of advancing constructive pro-development policies, his budget plan calls for increased taxes on America’s oil and natural gas industry,” Gerard said. 

The API regards elimination of tax credits and other breaks as essentially an increase in taxes for the industry.

“From every perspective, tax increases are a bad idea,” Gerard said. “Not only would they be punitive and unfair, but long-term they would mean less domestic energy, fewer jobs, less energy security and far less government revenue.”

Gerard argued that the US oil and gas producers already pay taxes at rates higher than most other industries.

“Increasing our taxes would push oil and natural gas investment overseas,” he said.

He said that API and its 400 member companies would be urging Congress to reject the Obama administration’s plans for tax increases.

Gerard also noted that API is already seeking to make domestic energy a key election year issue.

“Energy is important to every American,” he said. “We hope every American will make it an issue in the upcoming election.”

The White House fiscal 2013 budget proposal is essentially a political statement and not a realistic plan for the federal government’s revenues and spending. 

The nation’s budget is actually laid out by the US House of Representatives, although the president’s proposals are given consideration.

With the House in Republican hands, the administration’s proposed budget is even less likely to be reflected in whatever spending measure that Congress develops.

($1 = €0.76)

Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy

By: Joe Kamalick
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