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The Official Blog of National Taxpayers Union

Let's Drill Our Way to Lower Taxes

Posted by Andrew Moylan - August 16, 2008

In today's Wall Street Journal, I argue that we ought to open up our vast domestic oil resources to development and use the nearly $2 trillion in resulting revenue to help solve some of our most intractable tax problems, like the Alternative Minimum Tax.

There wasn't space to put this into the article, but I think it's worth pointing out that the oil companies would gladly pay those extra taxes. Despite all the hoopla over industry profits, refining and retailing are essentially zero-margin exercises right now. All the money is in exploration and development, which is why oil companies have been itching to tap into our vast domestic resources. I'm sure they wish the taxes were lower, but they'd be happy to pay current rates (leases, royalties, excise, sales taxes, etc.) if it meant accessing new sources of the black gold.

It's also interesting to note that none of my estimates included potential revenue from natural gas development. Offshore alone, we have roughly 420 TRILLION cubic feet of natural gas, development of which would surely bring in a chunk of revenue.

We could and should use that revenue to pay down our big tax problems, like the AMT. Protecting middle-class families from higher taxes AND increasing domestic oil supply: now THAT'S an American solution.

Thoughts?   Add Comment -


azbikelaw said on Aug 19 2008 at 4:04pm
"Despite all the hoopla over industry profits, refining and retailing are essentially zero-margin exercises right now. All the money is in exploration and development, which is why oil companies have been itching to tap into our vast domestic resources. I'm sure they wish the taxes were lower, but they'd be happy to pay current rates (leases, royalties, excise, sales taxes, etc.)..." I have no doubt this is true -- what I am saying simply is the royalty rates are too low. I.e. we (taxpayers) are not getting a fair return for the extraction and consumption of this valuable and finite natural resouce. How does this work in other democratic oil-producing nations-- i.e. how much royalty/tax per barrel... I'm guessing with oil at $120/bbl it is significantly more than eighteen bucks.? E.g. Canada? Norway? Alaskan citizens have a Permanent Fund. Where is the United States' "sovereign wealth fund"? The Permanent Fund? We get nothing but more debt.

http://azbikelaw.org/blog/more-drilling/