Joe Romm of Climate Progress makes an important point, that although Solyndra's $500 million loan has gotten enormous press coverage, in fact "56 percent of the total tax subsidies [from 2008 to 2010] went to just four industries: financial, utilities, tele-communications, and oil, gas & pipelines." The full report, by the Citizens for Tax Justice & the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, is available here. A few more points of note from that study:
- Two of the industries paying the lowest tax rates during 2008-2010 were utilities (3.7%) and "Oil, Gas & Pipelines" (15.7%)
- "Oil, Gas & Pipelines" received $24.2 billion in total tax subsidies from 2008 to 2010. As the report points out, "It seems rather odd, not to mention highly wasteful, that the industries with the largest subsidies (driven in part by their large share of total profits) are ones that would seem to need them least."
- A few of the ways the oil and gas industry pays such low taxes is through: "accelerated depreciation;" "industry-specific tax breaks;" "offshore tax sheltering;" and a severely weakened Alternative Minimum Tax which no longer is able to "achieve its goal of curbing corporate tax avoidance."
- A few companies paying zero tax or less in at least one year, 2008-2010, include: Duke Energy, Marathon Oil, ExxonMobil, American Electric Power, Sempra Energy, and PG&E.
Starting to sense a pattern here?