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Time to nix oil subsidies


Mon, Apr 16th, 2012
Posted in All Commentary

After nearly 100 years of subsidies, the highly profitable oil industry apparently is still a fledgling business and can’t make it without taxpayer dollars! Since 1913, the oil industry has enjoyed a variety of tax benefits or subsidies. Just how long does it take to establish a mature, healthy business and what criteria is used to determine this? Obviously, the big five oil companies are wildly successful; so, why does the federal government still give them billions of dollars in tax breaks?

The federal government provides numerous subsidies and tax breaks for many corporations and large businesses under the guise of creating jobs or promoting growth or the provision of a level playing field with foreign competition.

Federal ethanol subsidies on corn-based ethanol were were allowed to expire at the end of 2011. During 2011 there was a nearly $6 billion subsidy, or a 46 cents per gallon tax credit. The subsidy for ethanol was established in 1979 to help make a renewable energy business in its infancy successful. There still is a production tax credit for cellulosic ethanol or ethanol made from corn stalks or cobs or switch grass. Ten percent of the gasoline blend we use in our vehicles is ethanol. The corn based ethanol business has not been without considerable controversy. That and the need to cut back on expenses allowed the subsidy to sunset.

One intent of subsidies for businesses is to help them get established. My question is how a subsidy for the highly profitable oil industry can be justified. On March 29, the U.S. Senate voted 51 to 47 to end the billions of American tax dollars going to the five largest oil companies including BP, Exxon Mobile, Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron, and Conoco Phillips. The bill died nine votes short of the 60 needed to end a Republican filibuster. These five companies had total profits of nearly $140 billion in 2011. Those that protect the subsidy would argue that government aid helps in the exploration and development of new sources of oil or gas. Some claim removal of the subsidies would cause increases in gasoline prices.

It was mostly a Republican party line vote that caused the legislation to fail. Four Democrats joined the GOP and two Republicans broke ranks and voted to end the subsidies. About half of the savings would have gone for clean energy incentives to encourage more renewables and the other half toward reducing the deficit.

Admit .....
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One Moment Please... “Where Fillmore County News Comes First”

Mon, Apr 9th, 2012
Posted in All Commentary

You may have noticed a subtle change in our front page masthead a few months ago. We added a little slogan “Where Fillmore County News Comes First” that signifies a big promise. I live, work, do business and pay property taxes in Fillmore Coun ..... 
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Knowledge without wisdom

By Andrew Kingsley

Mon, Apr 9th, 2012
Posted in All Commentary

Do you think that in order to have the right to breathe air in this country, you should be required to purchase something from the government? Is there anything you do in your life that doesn’t in some way affect your health or the risks to it? T ..... 
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Obama and the economy

By Col. Stan Gudmundson

Mon, Apr 2nd, 2012
Posted in All Commentary

Referring to tax cuts and reduced regulation, Obama in a December 6 speech in Osawatomie, KS said the following: “The market will take care of everything...It’s a simple theory...(that) fits well on a bumper sticker. But here’s the problem: It ..... 
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One Moment Please... An interactive experience

Mon, Mar 26th, 2012
Posted in All Commentary

This week, I couldn’t help but give credit where credit is due. I must compliment Michelle Haugerud for her pure genius relating to offering a new option on www.jemmovies.com for visitors to ..... 
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Political parties and the environment

By John Goutcher

Mon, Mar 26th, 2012
Posted in All Commentary

It seems that the continuing saga in politics is that of jobs and the economy. Now don’t get me wrong, these issues are of immediate concern to the American public. These issues have created the huge dilemma facing our nation today. There are, h ..... 
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One Moment Please... Smart phones give birth to dumb drivers

Mon, Mar 19th, 2012
Posted in All Commentary

I’ve been dwelling on University of Minnesota Head Football Coach Jerry Kill’s presentation at the Preston Area Community Foundation dinner at The Branding Iron in Preston, Minn.. His focus on cell phone usage removing us from personal contact ..... 
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Separation of Church and State must remain absolute

Mon, Mar 19th, 2012
Posted in All Commentary

With some hesitation I write about a subject that concerns both politics and religion, as both are topics often not up for debate among friends and family. However, when GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum declared on February 26 that he doesn ..... 
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Pro-What?

By Andrew Kingsley

Mon, Mar 12th, 2012
Posted in All Commentary

Every single genetic trait about you was determined at the moment of conception. You were uniquely you, from that point on. Some would say that you weren’t you until you were actually born. But nothing about you was determined then. Furthermore, ..... 
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