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RI Delegation Wants $21 Billion in Deficit Reduction by Eliminating Taxpayer Subsidies for Big Oil

PROVIDENCE, RI – With the Senate scheduled for a key vote this week, U.S. Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Congressman David Cicilline (D-RI) are strongly backing a plan to eliminate special tax breaks for the five largest oil companies and direct those savings to decrease the national deficit.

Standing in front of the largest oil terminal in Rhode Island, Reed, Whitehouse, and Cicilline today outlined their fiscally responsible plan to stand up for middle-class families, reduce the deficit, and save taxpayers an estimated $21 billion over the next decade by ending taxpayer giveaways for big oil companies by passing the Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act of 2011.

The top five big oil companies – BP, Chevron, Conoco Phillips, Exxon Mobil, and Shell – whose CEOs recently testified before Congress, raked in over $33 billion in profits in the first three months of this year and had combined revenues of $1.5 trillion last year.

“Americans are paying $4 per gallon at the pump and being forced to provide an extra $4 billion in subsidies to big oil companies each year. They are effectively getting hit twice in their pocketbooks for the same gallon of gas. It is time to stop wasting taxpayer money subsidizing oil executives’ profits. We need to end these special interest handouts and start reducing the deficit,” said Reed.

“These companies are doing just fine on their own, making over $33 billion in profit last quarter, and shouldn't be double dipping into Rhode Islanders wallets by charging near record prices and taking our tax dollars,” said Whitehouse. “We should put an end to these tax breaks to big oil.”

“A steady rise in gas prices is placing many hard-working Rhode Island families in serious financial peril,” said Congressman Cicilline. “These high prices are especially painful as we continue to grow out of this deep recession but are dealing with very high unemployment in Rhode Island. It is time for Congress to close tax loopholes for Big Oil companies that are enjoying record profits while consumers are left to feel the pain at the pump. More immediate action is needed to help the many Rhode Islanders who cannot afford another financial burden during these challenging times. Until our nation makes the necessary and sustained investments in clean-energy technology that will once and for all end our dependence on foreign energy imports and Big Oil, we will continue to be held at the mercy of Wall Street speculators artificially driving up fuel prices.”

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