Despite Palin, GOP Still Opposes Tax on Oil Companies

Posted September 3, 2008 at 5:49pm

One of the biggest maverick feathers in Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s (R) cap is the plan she pushed through to raise taxes on massively profitable oil companies and give each of Alaska’s residents a $1,200 check. But Congressional Republicans aren’t about to jump on the soak-the-oil-companies bandwagon.

They’re still blocking efforts by Democratic leaders and Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) to roll back tax breaks for oil companies and shift the cash to renewable energy, and Obama, the Democrats’ presidential nominee, has proposed a windfall-profit tax on oil companies to pay for rebates to the public.

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), asked about Palin’s oil company tax hike, made it clear he’s not on board with doing anything similar at the federal level.

“I’m opposed to raising taxes, and most of my Republican colleagues are opposed,” Boehner said.

Boehner and other Republicans are more than happy, however, to highlight areas where they agree with Palin — including her desire to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, where they hope that her presence on the ticket will convince McCain to drop his opposition.

McCain “agrees with us 99 percent,” Boehner noted. “We’re going to continue to work on him to get him to 100 percent.”

Republican fiscal conservatives, meanwhile, are ecstatic over Palin’s pick, pointing to her opposition to the “Bridge to Nowhere” and her joint calls with McCain for shutting down earmarking.

Although Palin at one point backed the bridge and for years has sought earmarks as both a mayor and governor, Republicans who back an outright moratorium said she, like many Republicans, is a “reformed earmarker” who has come to see their “corrupting” influence.

“Many of us in the Senate and the House have gone through that same journey,” Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) said.

“I appreciate her courage, to change her mind on an issue like that,” he said, adding, she “set the example for other governors.”

The Republicans also noted that Palin has used her line-item veto authority to slash earmarks in the state budget and had been willing to take on big earmarkers like Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska).

“If she’s willing to take on Ted Stevens, she’s capable of taking on the Russians,” DeMint said.