May 10, 2011

CNN Fact Checks Democrats’ Energy Tax Hike Claims

Democrats have recently increased their calls for higher taxes on energy companies, offering the inexplicable argument that these tax hikes will somehow drive down skyrocketing gas prices.

Senate Democrats Are Hoping That Skyrocketing Gas Prices Will Enable Them To Pass Energy Tax Hikes That Have Already Failed In The Senate This Year. “The legislation faces an uphill battle in the Senate. Two similar measures failed in recent months. But Democrats are hoping that high gas prices offer an opportunity to pass the bill.” (Andrew Restuccia, “Oil Industry Ramps Up Opposition To ‘Vindictive’ Slashing Of Tax Breaks,” The Hill’s “E2 Wire” Blog, 5/9/11)

DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz Claimed Raising Energy Taxes Is The “First Step That We Need To Take” To “Bring Our Energy Costs Down.” REP. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: “Bottom the line is that we are still giving ridiculous, unacceptable subsidies to oil companies. … That’s the first step that we need to take to start to try to bring our energy costs down.” (Fox News’ “Fox & Friends,” 5/6/11)

Last night, CNN’s “The Situation Room” fact checked these claims and concluded that these energy tax hikes will not do anything to alleviate gas prices in the short term.

CNN’s “The Situation Room” Called Democrats’ Energy Tax Hikes “Standard Gas Crisis Fare” And Noted That These Hikes Would Not Lower Gas Prices As Democrats Have Promised. VOICE OVER: “As for the Democrats’ playbook, they want to end subsidies for oil companies. … Again, an oldie. Democrats slapping oil companies is standard gas crisis fare. … But experts say it would not affect gas prices short term.” (CNN’s “The Situation Room,” 5/9/11)

In fact, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service took this analysis a step further when they determined that hiking taxes on energy companies would, in fact, make oil and natural gas “more expensive” for Americans and increase our nation’s dependence on foreign oil.

According To Nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, Democrats’ Energy Tax Hikes Would “Make Oil And Natural Gas More Expensive For U.S. Consumers And Likely Increase Foreign Dependence.” “These changes, if enacted by Congress, also would reduce the tax advantage enjoyed by independent oil and natural gas companies over the major oil companies. On what would likely be a small scale, the proposals also would make oil and natural gas more expensive for U.S. consumers and likely increase foreign dependence.” (Robert Pirog, “Oil And Natural Gas Industry Tax Issues In The FY2012 Budget Proposal,” Congressional Research Service, 3/3/11)