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Cutting tax breaks may pay for stimulus

A natural gas-powered electricity-generating plant in Middletown, Conn.

TEXT OF STORY

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: To pay for some of President Obama's economic ideas -- such as fixing infrastructure -- he's trying to eliminate some tax breaks. Specifically, some deductions that oil and gas companies currently enjoy.

From the Sustainability Desk in Washington, Marketplace's Scott Tong reports.


SCOTT TONG: A big chunk of the $50 billion the president wants to pay for new infrastructure would come from cutting tax breaks for drilling. One of those deductions lets oil and gas companies offset taxes they pay overseas. Another goes to firms producing oil and gas domestically.

Analyst Kevin Book at Clearview Energy Research says the environment's bad for oil firms: In the spring they'd banked on a climate bill with give and take. Now the bill's history, and with the BP fallout, it's all about giving til it hurts.

KEVIN BOOK: For energy companies, the clamps are on. Regulation is still pervasive and increasing. And now Congress has a funding gap, and no reason to tie their hands behind their back when it comes to changing tax policy for fossil fuels.

Even if the president's ideas fall flat, oil and gas subsidies are a frequently targeted ATM for other ideas, like tax breaks for renewable energy.

Petroleum industry groups say the changes would make American production less competitive -- and increase imports of foreign energy.

In Washington, I'm Scott Tong for Marketplace.

About the author

Scott Tong is a correspondent for Marketplace’s sustainability desk, with a focus on energy, environment, resources, climate, supply chain and the global economy.
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