Chevron CEO John Watson says it is ironic that, at a time President Barack Obama is calling for continued reduction of dependence on foreign oil, Congress would seek taxes from the prime producers of U.S. energy. Watson also told Fox News’ Neal Cavuto Thursday that support for oil companies from the AFL-CIO is not ironic, because the mammoth union understands the importance of the industry’s jobs.
“The president talked about reducing energy import dependence — and it’s ironic that, so soon after the president laying out his plan, which requires more production in the United States, that we would see punitive tax measures put in place that will inhibit our ability to develop the very resources that we’re trying to produce in this country,” said Watson, one of the oil company executives who testified before the Senate Thursday on a proposed bill.
“I was pleased to be able to share some pretty basic messages with Senate members — I told them that we pay our fair share of taxes,” Watson said. “I told them that the tax treatment we receive is comparable, in terms of deductions and credits, to the treatment received by other companies, and all we want is to be treated fairly and equitably, relative to other companies in our industry — both in the United States and abroad — and relative to other industries.
“I think one of the things that I tried to share with Senate members is that, rather than talking about shared sacrifice, we ought to talk about shared prosperity,” he said. “And the opportunity that our industry has to create jobs, create tax revenue . . . and ultimately put more supply on the market to keep prices down for consumers. So, I think we got those points across today.”
Cavuto asked Watson whether he found it odd the AFL-CIO co-signed a letter with the American Petroleum Institute voicing concern that raising taxes on oil companies could endanger jobs.
“Well, I think organized labor understands what we do, and that is that we create jobs — and we create good-paying jobs in our business, at our refineries and in our producing operations in the Gulf of Mexico and onshore in this country,” Watson said. “And we can do more of that.
“Do you know if we opened more areas for leasing, if we were able to get permits for all the activity that we would like to be able to conduct, we can create more jobs, and it’s good for labor, it’s good for taxpayers, and it’s good for the American public,” he said.
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