Fat Cat takes photos with drivers calling an end to taxpayer handouts to Big Oil
From Aurora to Pueblo – the heart of swing-voting Colorado – environmental groups are calling out U.S. Representatives Mike Coffman and Scott Tipton for making people pay twice for gasoline. On tax day, 2012, Clean Water Action and Colorado Conservation Voters held events at gas stations where drivers filling up at the pump took part in a photo petition with a costumed “Big Oil Fat Cat” calling for an end to special tax breaks and subsidies to the oil and gas industry.
Big Oil companies get $9.4 billion in annual subsidies and tax breaks. Coloradans shoulder more than $157 million of the burden for oil and gas tax breaks.
“It’s high time Coloradans stop paying twice for gas – once at the pump and again on Tax Day,” said Gary Wockner, director of Clean Water Action. “We should end the billions in taxpayer handouts to Big Oil fat cats, but Reps. Mike Coffman and Scott Tipton have voted a half dozen times to protect Big Oil tax breaks.”
Wockner said the events were in part a response to groups, such as Karl Rove’s Crossroads, that have polluted the political debate by spending millions to run misleading ads on energy and the real causes of rising gas prices.
Coloradans are paying just over $3.85 a gallon for gas, $0.29 more per gallon than one year ago. While Colorado families struggle to adjust to higher energy prices, the top five oil and gas companies alone reported $137 billion in profits this past year.
Oil and gas interests have given more than $6.8 million in campaign contributions to members of Congress so far this election cycle, 88 percent of which went to Republican members.
“Big Oil is buying-off our members of Congress, including Reps. Coffman and Tipton, to keep protect billions in special tax breaks,” said Wockner. “No wonder the only solution to gas prices these politicians offer up are gimmicks like ‘drill, baby, drill.”
“Instead of taking money from Big Oil, the Congressmen should vote to end Big Oil tax breaks and reinvest those funds in long term solutions such as transportation improvements, the next generation of renewable fuels, and high tech vehicles,” concluded Wockner.
A recent Hart Research Associates poll found that Colorado and New Mexico voters support public officials that favor ending oil and gas tax breaks and cracking down on Big Oil over a drill-only approach by a ratio of 2-to-1.