Practically Speaking

Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.

Tax "Evil Exxon" More? They Only Paid Same As 1/2 of Taxpayers

Energy, Legislation, Obama 2008, TAXES

Oil companies have made a lot of money and some in Washington think they should get a bigger cut. The Senate recently tried to snatch some of those profits with their attempt to resurrect the Windfall Profits Tax bill. Thankfully, the Senate Republicans stopped that piece of legislation ...for now.

I am sure we will see that tax tried again. After all, Obama is campaigning, "I'll make oil companies like Exxon pay a tax on their windfall profits, and we'll use the money to help families pay for their skyrocketing energy costs and other bills," the Illinois senator said.

Generally, Democrats seem to think that oil companies just do not have the right to keep their profits. They don't seem to have that same aversion to other corporations' profits though. I heard on Jay Weber recently that oil companies made about 7.5% in profits.

How does that compare to other industry profits? Weber said Banking made 20%, Pharmaceuticals 18%, Insurance 11%, and Beverage/Tobacco 9.4%. So oil companies 7.5% is excessive and these other industries are not? Does it seem there is a double standard here?

Weeks ago, Sean Hannity broke down the profit per gallon of gas that oil companies received. We're paying around $4/gal. Oil companies get about $0.08/gal. Taxes on a gallon are around $0.19/gal for Fed. and State, I think. Again, oil companies seem to be getting the lesser amount.

How much profit does an oil company like Exxon make? Mark Perry, on Seeking Alpha, a Stock Market Opinion/Analysis site shows that last year they had pre-tax profits of $70.61 billion. Wow, that is a lot of money!

Some of you might be muttering to yourself how unfair it is that these filthy rich companies are making all the money and WE (via taxes to government) should be getting some of it.

But here is a figure the news media does not talk about very much; the amount Exxon pays in taxes. Perry includes an interesting chart showing the profits vs. taxes: $40.6 billion in after tax profits, $30 billion in taxes. Exxon averaged over the past 3 years to pay $27 billion in taxes each year. He compares that to regular taxpayers contribution to the IRS:

According to IRS data for 2004, the most recent year available:

Total number of tax returns: 130 million

Number of Tax Returns for the Bottom 50%: 65 million

Adjusted Gross Income for the Bottom 50%: $922 billion

Total Income Tax Paid by the Bottom 50%: $27.4 billion

Conclusion: In other words, just one corporation (Exxon Mobil) pays as much in taxes ($27 billion) annually as the entire bottom 50% of individual taxpayers, which is 65,000,000 people! Further, the tax rate for the bottom 50% is only 3% of adjusted gross income ($27.4 billion / $922 billion), and the tax rate for Exxon was 41% in 2006 ($67.4 billion in taxable income, $27.9 billion in taxes).

This was not enough for the Senate Democrats (and a few Republicans) though. They wanted more. 

No doubt about it. We have high energy prices and future prices don't look any better, but taxing oil companies more will not lower the price at the pump!  Would you want to work harder to increase production only to have more of your profit taken away?


FYI:  Neighborhood Information Meeting tonight for Fire Station #3 move 


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