Yarmuth calls for ending oil subsidies and giving that cash back to consumers

03/19/2012 01:37 PM

Washington Democrats are taking a populist preemptive strike on an issue sure to come up in the presidential election – energy production.

With Republicans criticizing President Obama for restricting domestic oil drilling, Democrats led by Louisville’s U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth are calling for ending federal tax subsidies for oil companies and, instead, directing the money to come back to consumers.

Yarmuth announced Monday he would introduce legislation to end federal subsidies to oil companies and return nearly $4 billion-a-year to consumers through targeted gas rebates.

That comes less than 48-hours after the president used his weekly video address to call for the end of tax breaks for oil companies and to develop alternative sources of energy.

The oil industry is slated to receive about $38.6 billion in federal subsidies over the next 10-years, Yarmuth said. Kentucky’s portion of those funds would be more than $564 million.

The legislation would instruct the IRS and the Secretary of the Treasury to work with states to distribute rebates to individuals and businesses for each vehicle they own or lease for more than one year. Based on the 242 million registered vehicles, the resulting rebate would be about $160 per vehicle.

Congressman Yarmuth drove home his pitch to end oil subsidies with a quote from former President George W. Bush, who in 2005 said, “I will tell you with $55 oil we don’t need incentives to the oil and gas companies to explore. There are plenty of incentives.”

The price per barrel of crude oil last week was around $107 a barrel. Since 2005, oil companies have received nearly $300 billion in tax breaks. But, as an Associated Press story out of Washington noted, Democrats couldn’t pass a similar bill when they controlled both chambers.

Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics available exclusively on Spectrum News. Pure Politics is the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like his coverage of the backlog of DNA rape kits waiting to be tested in Kentucky. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Pure Politics airs weeknight at 7 and 11:30 on Spectrum News. Follow Nick on Twitter @NStorm_Politics. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@charter.com.


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