by Max Brantley
The 2014 election has begun. The oil lobby - struggling businesses like Exxon - has hit the air with TV ads targeting senators up for re-election. If they don't vote for continuation of billions of tax breaks to the poor, struggling energy companies, the economy will go straight to hell.
U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor is in that number. From National Journal:
Five Senate Democrats up for reelection in two years are already facing pressure from the American Petroleum Institute to maintain billions of dollars in tax breaks for the oil and gas industry.
“Senator Mark Warner can make energy a big part of improving our economy,” says one television ad targeting the Virginia Democrat. “He can choose economic growth and American jobs. Not slow them with job-killing energy taxes.”
Warner is up for reelection in 2014 and has voted twice in the past two years to repeal tax breaks for the country’s five biggest oil companies. The API ads are also aimed at four others with two years left in their terms among more than 20 Senate Democrats who have voted to repeal the industry’s tax breaks: Sens. Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Mark Udall of Colorado, and Tom Udall of New Mexico.
API, one of Washington’s most powerful lobbying groups, is ramping up its advocacy efforts even before the next election cycle begins in January. The industry’s tax breaks—with an annual price tag for the government ranging between $2.8 billion and $4 billion, depending on your definition of “tax break”—are more vulnerable than ever as Congress tries to negotiate its way around the fiscal cliff and contemplates a comprehensive tax-reform effort next year.
U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin would tell you, I'm sure, that the oil companies are makers, not takers, and we should not kill the golden egg layers by making them pay more taxes.