The Billings Outpost

Fair Energy Policy Essential to Montana’s Future

By DOUG KARY

Businessmen and women around the world depend on stable and affordable energy to conduct their daily lives—although this is no new concept, it is one that is too often painfully taken for granted. 

Regardless of what we are doing, whether it is traveling across the globe or simply heading into the office, we rely on energy producers to provide us with the resources to reach our destination. Yet despite this reliance—from our need for oil and gas to power our vehicles and homes, to the ability to transport goods across the country—our current administration is bound and determined to push our American oil and gas producers out of the American energy portfolio.

Although our president may talk a good game when it comes to preserving an “all-of-the-above” energy portfolio, his actions speak to the contrary. 

During his tenure, President Obama has made many strategic moves in an attempt to undercut American energy producers. Initially, the administration boasted rhetoric-based talking points of “closing loop holes” in the tax code, when in reality they were picking and choosing which industries they wanted to help, and which they wanted to force punitive tax measures on.

With the Presidents recent release of his “energy plan” full of new EPA regulations, it is clear that this administration’s priorities are not those of expanding American energy development, or even of developing new technologies to make American energy production more effective and efficient. No, in fact, they are the exact opposite and his administration continues to push unfair and burdensome tax policies on America’s energy producers that do nothing but harm consumers and slow down economic growth—which is why the efforts currently underway in the Senate to simplify the tax code are so crucial. 

Taking on the task of simplifying the tax code by starting with a “clean slate” could prove a substantial threat to the American energy industry if the administration and its supporters in the Senate are allowed to weigh in too heavily into the process.

If President Obama and his supporters in the Senate achieve their aims, this “cleansing” of the tax code could leave American energy producers paying a disproportionate and competitively disadvantageous percentage of the tax burden—which would not only hurt American consumers, but impede technological development and undermine America’s efforts of achieving energy independence.

Our own Senator Baucus is leading the effort in the Senate to reform the tax code. With this being Sen. Baucus’s final term in the Senate, he has the opportunity to make sensible changes to our energy policy without conforming to the will of the administration, or either political party.

In order to maintain stability and affordability in the market for American energy consumers, we need Senator Baucus to make reasonable and bi-partisan decisions on energy tax policies. I urge Senator Baucus to work with all the parties involved and to put in place a tax structure that does not unnecessarily weigh down American energy producers and that will incentivize innovation moving forward.

Rep. Doug Kary represents House District 48 in the Montana State Legislature. He is a member of the House Federal Relations, Energy, and Telecommunications Committee and the House State Administration Committee. Rep. Kary also serves as the Vice Chair of the House Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Committee and is currently serving on the Joint Interim State Administration and Veterans' Affairs Committee.

 

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