Special Interest Attacks Sen. Johnson with False Tax Claims

The League of Conservation Voters has launched a misleading ad campaign claiming that Sen. Ron Johnson (R) has supported tax breaks for “Big Oil” at the expense of working and middle class Wisconsinites.

Nine days prior to its new ad campaign, the League of Conservation Voters endorsed Sen. Russ Feingold while simultaneously blasting Johnson for voting against an amendment Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz (D) offered to S. 2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015. The Conservation Voters launched an approximately $370,000 multimedia ad campaign praising Schatz’s amendment and lying about the lawmakers who opposed it.

“It is an outrage that Sen. Johnson is putting polluter profits ahead of Wisconsinites by voting to continue taxpayer handouts to the fossil fuel industry,” said LCV President Gene Karpinski. “The reality is simple: oil, gas, and coal companies benefit from billions of dollars of handouts every year at taxpayers’ expense while fueling the climate crisis and threatening public health and the environment.”

Karpinski’s claim is totally untrue. Increasing taxes solely on the oil and gas sector is not tax fairness. In fact, the oil and gas sector pays an average tax rate of 37 % while the average rate for other sectors in the S & P 500 stands at 29%.

Karpinski continues, “Some of these dirty energy incentives have been on the books for more than a century and with key incentives for wind and solar being phased out over the next several years, the time to stop these outdated taxpayer giveaways is now.”

This is another disingenuous argument used to justify tax increases on the oil and gas industry. Yet the reality and rhetoric don’t match up.

A subsidy is characterized by a direct payment from the government or a company in hopes of propping it up, such as been done with the solar industry. A deduction is in place to assure that an American company is taxed only on its real income, thus enabling businesses to write off legitimate expenses and calculate tax liability based on net income, as opposed to revenue.

Karpinski is spreading misinformation.

Increasing taxes solely on the oil and gas sector would trigger significant consequence for the economy and for the American people. Abolishing legitimate tax deductions only for the oil and gas sector would reduce their ability to compete and invest domestically and simply punish an entire sector of industry that the Left doesn’t like.

The Facebook and Twitter ads against Sen. Ron Johnson are literally nothing but click bait with factually inaccurate statements. Besides the cheap hit of the video, an online LCV petition is meant to expand the group’s mailing list, which it will likely use to raise money to help Russ Feingold.

League of Conservation Voters and Gene Karpinski’s efforts to bash Sen. Ron Johnson on the issue of tax reform is a clear case of special interests endeavoring to help a political ally – in this case Sen. Russ Feingold –  out.