Thursday, February 23, 2012

Illinois to Tax Offshore Drilling?

As if Illinois isn't already the political and economic laughingstock of the country, Governor Quinn is proposing to provide reason for infamy-- a tax on offshore drilling. You know all those oil rigs in Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River that we have "offshore", right? Per the Republic:
Gov. Pat Quinn believes oil rigs off U.S. shores may be key to saving Illinois about $75 million a year.  
The Democrat touched on an unusual proposal during his budget address Wednesday: requiring companies that drill in the outer continental shelf and profit from doing business in Illinois to pay a share of a corporate income tax in the state. He said doing so would close a tax code loophole. 
"For too long, we've had a revenue code that looks like Swiss cheese, with plenty of loopholes for the powerful. Many of these loopholes are based on politics, not economics," he said before legislators. "Why does Illinois give big oil companies the privilege of declaring their oil derricks in the Gulf of Mexico to be foreign countries?"
What does the state of Illinois have to do with the Gulf of Mexico? Well, some argue that the Outer Continental Shelf, underwater land that does not belong any state, but to the federal government. Why doesn't Governor Quinn then claim the treasures from the wreckage of the Titanic which could be claimed as an extension of the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf?

How can closing a supposed tax loophole be considered a savings to the state? Savings come from decreasing spending, not from increasing revenue. Additionally, this proposal provide no savings to the people of Illinois who would pay higher fuel prices. That is in addition to the fuel taxes we pay that are 5th highest in the country. If Governor Quinn wants to really talk about savings--be it the hard earned money of Illinoisans or his own job, he should consider repealing the income and corporate tax hike he signed into law last year.

H/T Illinois Review

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