Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Senate to Debate Menendez's Bill to Cut Oil Tax Breaks

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Senate to Debate Menendez's Bill to Cut Oil Tax Breaks

Article excerpt

Sen. Bob Menendez's bill to cut tax breaks for oil companies got overwhelming support in a procedural vote Monday, but only because Republicans want to spend this week talking about why they don't like it.

Menendez has tried several times before to eliminate or cap tax benefits that the five largest oil companies can get, but always came up short of the 60 votes needed for most actions in the Senate. In May 2011, for example, a similar bill got 52 votes but failed. On Monday night, however, a motion to open debate was approved 92-4.

"Tonight's vote starts a process of which side are you on: Are you on the side of the American taxpayer, or are you on the side of Big Oil?" Menendez said on the Senate floor shortly before the vote.

He noted that the five companies affected made $137 billion in profit last year, and stand to clear $1 trillion over the coming decade. His bill would cut about $24 billion in tax breaks over the next 10 years and apply about half to deficit relief and the rest to extending tax incentives for alternative energy production. …

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