Stop the Handouts to Big Oil

2011: RECORD PROFITS, RECORD PRICES, & LESS OIL — Despite the industry producing less oil than in 2010, Big Oil made a record-high $137 billion in profit. All the while, the industry hired a fleet of 790 lobbyists and spent $149 million to influence American legislators. At the pump, consumers faced the highest gas prices since 1864.

Plug the Bilions in Oil Industry Subsidies

Taxpayer money should go to fund important programs that work for the public, not pad the pockets of the most profitable of companies.

A century ago, to encourage exploration and growth in an era of rudimentary technology, Congress changed the tax code to make oil extraction a less risky and more profitable endeavor. Now, despite being a longstanding and arguably the most profitable industry in the world, we've allowed Big Oil to drain over $4 billion a year from our public coffer.

Meanwhile, the rest of us are tightening our belts and Congress is gearing up to make substantial cuts to reduce the federal deficit. Faced with difficult decisions, it's looking to cut vital services and programs — and Big Oil is lobbying hard with their riches to ensure that it keeps profits up and handouts flowing.

Florida PIRG is working to make sure Congress looks out for the public interest and finally stops the billions in handouts to Big Oil, especially considering:

We are still paying for the environmental devastation caused by the biggest oil spill in history.

  • Beyond the lasting damage to our oceans, as taxpayers we paid over half of the $20 billion BP spent on compensating Gulf residents and businesses — this is due to BP writing off $13 billion in tax credit expenses related to the Gulf oil spill two years ago.

Instead of investing in job creation, alternative energy, or research and development, Big Oil uses their money to concentrate their power.

  • Big Oil managers direct most of their excess cash to dividends and stock repurchases, serving the purpose of driving up share prices and the executive stock option values. The percentage of Big Oil's net profits directed towards this self-enriching practice was: 58 percent in 2005, 73 percent in 2006, and 72 percent in 2007, 71 percent in 2008 and 89 percent in 2009.

Issue updates

News Release | Florida PIRG Education Fund | Tax

Florida could save $100 million with proven method to curb offshore tax dodging, new study finds

A new report from Florida PIRG details how Florida is losing hundreds of millions of dollars due to the abuse of offshore tax havens, and outlines how taxpayers could save $100 million with a proven tax reform.

> Keep Reading
Report | Florida PIRG | Tax

Closing the Billion Dollar Loophole

Our new report tells how some states have found a simple reform to reclaim significant revenue lost to offshore tax havens. It includes estimates of how much Florida loses in state revenue to offshore tax haven abuse and how much it would gain by closing the "water's edge" loophole.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Florida PIRG Education Fund | Tax

Florida Receives an “A-” in Annual Report on Transparency of Government Spending

Florida received an “A-” when it comes to government spending transparency, according to “Following the Money 2013: How the States Rank on Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data,” the fourth annual report of its kind by the Florida PIRG Education Fund.

> Keep Reading
Report | Florida PIRG Education Fund | Budget, Tax

Following the Money 2013

Every year, state governments spend tens of billions of dollars through contracts with private entities for goods and services, subsidies to encourage economic development, grants, and other forms of spending. Accountability and public scrutiny are necessary to ensure that state funds are well spent.
 

> Keep Reading
Report | Florida PIRG Education Fund | Budget, Tax

Transparency in City Spending

The ability to see how government uses the public purse is fundamental to democracy. Transparency in government spending checks corruption, bolsters public confidence, improves responsiveness, and promotes greater effectiveness and fiscal responsibility.

> Keep Reading

Pages

News Release | Florida PIRG Education Fund | Tax

Florida could save $100 million with proven method to curb offshore tax dodging, new study finds

A new report from Florida PIRG details how Florida is losing hundreds of millions of dollars due to the abuse of offshore tax havens, and outlines how taxpayers could save $100 million with a proven tax reform.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Florida PIRG Education Fund | Tax

Florida Receives an “A-” in Annual Report on Transparency of Government Spending

Florida received an “A-” when it comes to government spending transparency, according to “Following the Money 2013: How the States Rank on Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data,” the fourth annual report of its kind by the Florida PIRG Education Fund.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Florida PIRG Education Fund | Budget

Florida Receives D on Transparency of Government Spending But Still Makes Important Progress

Today, the Florida Public Interest Research Group (Florida PIRG) released its third annual report evaluating state transparency websites. The new report, Following the Money 2012: How the States Rank on Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data, looks at and compares state websites across the country highlighting states that are leading the way. While Florida received a D for the Transparency Florida site the state still made some important progress.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Florida PIRG | Budget

New Report Outlines Problems with Red-Light and Speed Cameras

A new research report released today outlines problems with the growing trend among cities to outsource traffic enforcement to red-light and speed camera vendors.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Florida PIRG | Budget

Representative Jeff Flake Introduces REAPS Act

Statement of Florida PIRG Federal Legislative Office Director Gary Kalman on the introduction of the Reducing the Deficit through Eliminating Agriculture Direct Payment Subsidies Act

> Keep Reading

Pages

Report | Florida PIRG | Tax

Closing the Billion Dollar Loophole

Our new report tells how some states have found a simple reform to reclaim significant revenue lost to offshore tax havens. It includes estimates of how much Florida loses in state revenue to offshore tax haven abuse and how much it would gain by closing the "water's edge" loophole.

> Keep Reading
Report | Florida PIRG Education Fund | Budget, Tax

Following the Money 2013

Every year, state governments spend tens of billions of dollars through contracts with private entities for goods and services, subsidies to encourage economic development, grants, and other forms of spending. Accountability and public scrutiny are necessary to ensure that state funds are well spent.
 

> Keep Reading
Report | Florida PIRG Education Fund | Budget, Tax

Transparency in City Spending

The ability to see how government uses the public purse is fundamental to democracy. Transparency in government spending checks corruption, bolsters public confidence, improves responsiveness, and promotes greater effectiveness and fiscal responsibility.

> Keep Reading
Report | Florida PIRG Education Fund | Budget

Following the Money 2012

This report is U.S. PIRG Education Fund’s third annual ranking of states’ progress toward “Transparency 2.0”—a new standard of comprehensive, one-stop, one-click budget accountability and accessibility. The past year has seen continued progress, with new states providing online access to government spending information and several states pioneering new tools to further expand citizens’ access to spending information and engagement with government. In 2011, eight states created new transparency websites and several others made significant improvements to sites already launched.

> Keep Reading
Report | Florida PIRG Education Fund | Budget

Caution: Red Light Cameras Ahead

Privatized traffic law enforcement systems are spreading rapidly across the United States. As many as 700 local jurisdictions have entered into deals with for-profit companies to install camera systems at intersections and along roadways to encourage drivers to obey traffic signals and follow speed limits. Local contracting for automated traffic enforcement systems may sometimes be a useful tool for keeping drivers and pedestrians safe. But when private firms and municipalities consider revenues first, and safety second, the public interest is threatened.

> Keep Reading

Pages

Blog Post | Tax

What Do Jon Stewart, Elizabeth Warren, and Barack Obama Have In Common? | Phineas Baxandall

All three of them spoke out this week against corporate tax dodging.

In his State of the Union speech, President Obama called for an economy where “everyone plays by the same set of rules” and where companies can’t avoid taxes by shifting profits overseas. That same night, Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren went on the Daily Show and called out 30 corporations that a recent Florida PIRG and Citizens for Tax Justice study found paid more to lobby Congress than they did in federal income taxes. When Warren told this to John Stewart on the Daily Show, it made the usually unflappable comedian’s jaw drop. Check out the video!

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Budget

Problems With Privatized Law Enforcement's New Frontier | Phineas Baxandall

One in five Americans lives in a jurisdiction that outsources traffic ticketing this way, according to a newly released report from the Florida Public Interest Research Group, titled "Caution: Red Light Cameras Ahead; The Risks of Privatizing Traffic Law Enforcement and How to Protect the Public." And a report released by the Justice Department suggests this trend may accelerate under the twin pressures of budget pressure and intense lobbying.

> Keep Reading
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You Can Help

We have a chance to end billions in Big Oil subsidies this year. Your support will help us do the research, advocacy and grassroots organizing to convince our elected officials to act.

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