There is largely unanimous agreement that the sequester is not the optimal route for getting Washington’s finances under control. But targeting one select industry for punitive, discriminatory tax increases, when that industry already pays one of the highest tax rates in the country, is no way to solve our budget woes.
In the past, President Obama has called for comprehensive tax reform, which is something we can all get behind. But singling out the energy industry for higher taxes is not the way to go. A much better path, and one that grows both the economy and federal revenues, is simply allowing access to more of America’s taxpayer-owned federal lands. Today the federal government leases less than 3 percent of its lands for oil and natural gas production. The federal government could go a long way to helping fix our fiscal woes by merely providing access to our energy resources.
Thomas J. Pyle is the president of the Institute for Energy Research.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., speaks with reporters following a vote in the Senate. Gillibrand’s proposal to remove military commanders from the process of reviewing sexual-assault cases was left out of the bicameral deal on the defense authorization bill, but the senator is pushing for a vote on her plan soon.
Each year since 1990, CQ Roll Call has reviewed the financial disclosures of all 541 senators, representatives and delegates to determine the 50 richest members of Congress. This year's report, derived from forms covering the calendar year 2012, shows it took a net worth of $6.67 million to crack the exclusive club.