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LCV Asks John McCain to Clarify Position

Contact: Joshua McNeil, (202) 785-8683 or April 15, 2008  

Washington, DC – In response to Senator John McCain’s call for a gas tax holiday, the League of Conservation Voters today asked the Presidential candidate to clarify his position.  In a speech in Philadelphia today, Senator McCain said,  “In my administration, there will be no corporate welfare.”  Yet, when given the opportunity to vote to repeal more than $18 billion in subsidies to Big Oil, McCain failed the American people. 

On December 17, 2007, the Senate voted to invoke cloture on a version of the energy bill that would have repealed those handouts to Big Oil.  The measure failed by one vote – 59 to 40.  McCain was the lone Senator to miss the vote, ensuring that billions of taxpayer dollars continued to flow into ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell, BP and ConocoPhillips.  These multinationals enjoyed another year of record profits, yet the corporate tax cuts McCain proposed today would reduce taxes for those five companies by an addition $3.8 billion.

Meanwhile, McCain’s proposal raises more questions than it provides solutions for our ailing economy.  For example, federal gas taxes go to the highway trust fund — does this proposal mean that resources devoted to creating jobs and repairing our crumbling bridges and roads are slashed?  His plan would cut $11 billion for highway funding, a sum that could be better made up by repealing the $18 billion in subsidies for Big Oil. 

“If Senator McCain wants to save money for American taxpayers, he should get to the root of the problem: massive taxpayer-funded subsidies to huge oil companies that are already making tens of billions of dollars a year,”  LCV President Gene Karpinski said.   “The answer to the high cost of gas is not temporary tax maneuvering, it is a fundamental shift away from oil and towards clean, renewable energy.”

CNN reports that the average cost of a gallon of gasoline is $3.38 per gallon this week, but taxes make up less than 5.5% of that cost.  A average family filling a 12 gallon tank today will pay $40.56.  Only $2.21 of that total goes to federal taxes, while the cost of gas has grown exponentially in the last few years.    

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