Obama Shelves Windfall Oil Tax Plans for Energy Companies

Following a steady decline in oil prices from a hefty $147 in July to less than $50 this week, the Obama camp has decided to nix plans to implement a windfall profit tax on oil companies, Reuters reports, citing an aide to the US President-elect.

The proposed move to tax oil and gas profits, staunchly opposed by the petroleum industry, may have further bottlenecked exploration and production plans for oil companies trying to balance budgets based on tottering crude prices.

Conversely, President-elect Obama's taxation policy would have utilized the profits tax revenue to fund a tax rebate for low- and middle-income families burdened by high energy prices. But, because prices have dropped to staggeringly low levels, the tax is no longer necessary, says the Obama aide.

"A windfall profits tax is bad policy at any price," Thomas Pyle, president of the Institute for Energy Research, told Reuters. Pyle added that the move was "a heartening development -- both for consumers and an economy struggling to claw its way out of recession."