At this point, we are all well aware that the federal government has lavished enormous implicit and explicit taxpayer-funded corporate welfare on the oil, coal, and natural gas industries for many decades now. Less attention, however, is paid to the same thing going on at the state level. Here's a case in point from Pennsylvania:
Gov. Tom Corbett, who has been criticized for cutting state spending for schools and social services, is advocating future tax credits worth as much as $66 million a year for a petrochemical refinery planned by Shell Oil Co. in western Pennsylvania to capitalize on booming natural-gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale region.
The Corbett administration is seeking legislative approval now to demonstrate its willingness to share the costs of the multibillion-dollar project, even though the credits would not become available until 2017. The credit would be worth nearly $1.7 billion over the 25 years they would remain in place.
Does Shell Oil Co. need to be receiving $1.7 billion in taxpayer-funded corporate welfare from the state of Pennsylvania, or anyone else for that matter? Given that Shell earned profits of $7.3 billion in the first quarter of 2012 alone, we would argue that they don't. Apparently, though, the fact that Shell "is the second-largest lobbyist in oil and gas, lobbying $14.6 million in 2011," makes other people - specifically, elected officials in Congress as well as in state capitals around the United States - see things from quite a different perspective.