Today's Trends: Poll Shows U.S. Voters Oppose Higher O&G Taxes

Voters in 10 key states oppose higher taxes on America's oil and natural gas industry by a 2-to-1 margin, according to a new poll conducted by the American Petroleum Institute (API).

Both the Obama administration and some members of Congress have recently proposed billions of dollars in new taxes on the industry. "Voters know raising taxes on an industry that provides most of their energy and supports more than 9.2 million jobs would hurt them and damage the economy," said API President and CEO Jack Gerard.

"Raising taxes doesn't address their major concern, which is putting people back to work. The fact that the proposals are being pushed under the guise of addressing the oil spill in the Gulf doesn't make them any better. With 15 million people out of work, now is not the time to be imposing more taxes."

The poll of 6,000 registered voters - conducted by telephone by Harris Interactive on behalf of API between July 15 and July 18 - found that 64 percent in the 10 states oppose an increase, including 46 percent of voters who strongly oppose. Only 27 percent of those polled supported increasing taxes.

Six hundred voters were polled in each key state, which included Colorado, Michigan, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Missouri, Ohio, and West Virginia. The percentage of voters who opposed new oil and gas taxes in each state ranged from 59 percent in Virginia to as high as 67 percent in North Carolina and West Virginia.

The poll found those surveyed believe the two most important issues for the federal government to address are the economy and job creation. This is in line with other national polls from Gallup, CBS News and Bloomberg.

The U.S. oil and natural gas industry is one of the nation's biggest taxpayers. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the industry paid almost $100 billion in federal income taxes in 2008. PriceWaterhouseCoopers sais that the oil and natural gas industry had an effective average tax rate of 48.4 percent in 2009 compared with 28.1 percent for the rest of S&P industrial companies.


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