Report Says Oil and Gas Tax Breaks Cost Utahns

(KCPW News) A report from Taxpayers for Common Sense says Utahns pay $141 million a year to benefit oil and gas companies through tax breaks. The report, called “Subsidy Gusher” details the tax breaks that oil and gas companies receive.  Vice President Steve Ellis says while Congress explores ways to reform the tax code and cut back spending on entitlement programs, it should be cutting out big tax breaks to boot.

“When you look at some of the subsides that have been going to the oil and gas industry, going all the way back to the first tax break back in 1918,” he says, “clearly this is an area where highly profitable companies, we can remove some of these tax breaks and save taxpayers some cash and also start tackling the deficit and the debt.”

Steve Lewis owned and operated Lewis Brother Stages in Park City for 30 years. He says small businesses and the middle class pay the lion’s share of the taxes in this country, and that’s a problem.

“Small businesses pay taxes when they have income.” Lewis says. “But big business in this case, the oil industry, they’re able to exempt themselves from a large share of the tax burden. If we’re serious about trying to reduce the federal deficit, we need to get big oil companies to pay their share.”

A Senate vote to end oil and gas tax breaks failed last week, largely on party lines. Utah Senators Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee both voted against it. Hatch blasted the bill as a $21 billion dollar energy tax hike that would do nothing to reduce the deficit.