Republicans Shouldn’t be Picking Energy Winners and Losers Either
September 21, 2011 - 6:37 am
Two House subcommittees will hold a hearing today on the National Alternative Transportation to Give Americans Solutions (NAT GAS) act. If passed the act would manipulate the tax code and pick industrial winners and losers. Among the winners would be George Soros. Here’s what the NAT GAS act would do, and why it shouldn’t pass:
The NAT GAS Act would offer tax subsidies of up to $7,500 for standard passenger cars and $64,000 for large trucks that are capable of using natural gas. On top of this, gas stations that install natural gas pumps could be eligible for credits as high as $100,000.
Billionaire energy tycoon T. Boone Pickens has been pushing the legislation hard, and it’s no surprise that the bill’s co-sponsors are heavily concentrated in states with large natural gas reserves such as Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. The bill’s lead sponsor is Oklahoma Republican Rep. John Sullivan.
On the flip side, the bill is being heavily fought by chemical companies, fertilizer makers and other businesses that currently produce products that use natural gas, because diverting more of it to be used as transportation fuel would hike the price. It would also boost costs for those who use natural gas to heat their homes.
In addition, Club for Growth President Chris Chocola has pointed out that a provision in the law implicitly concedes the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate carbon.
To be clear, the important issue raised by this proposal isn’t whether to be on the side of one industry or another. The salient point is that big government should be fought in all its forms. Sometimes it’s about opposing massive government spending, but other times it’s about exposing attempts to lard up the tax code with special interest carve outs.