Shortly before voting against the Democratic climate, health and tax package Friday, Stéphanie Bice, representative of the United States lambasted the proposed tax increases, echoing his earlier criticisms of raising taxes during a recession.
“This partisan legislation is full of new tax increases that will negatively impact Oklahomians throughout my district,” Bice, R-Oklahoma City, said in a speech to the House.
Four years ago, as a member of the Oklahoma Senate, Bice voted for a major Republican package that increased state taxes on gasoline, cigarettes, and oil and gas production.
Criticizing that vote during her run for Congress two years ago, Bice said she was facing the fourth year of budget cuts amid an economic downturn and that she made a tough choice for Oklahoma’s future.
The congresswoman’s office did not respond to questions this week about her positions, including her insistence that the country is currently in a recession and whether Oklahoma was in a recession when she voted for the tax increases. taxes.
Every congressional representative from Oklahoma voted against the package, which was passed by the House and Senate
All five Oklahomans in the House joined the rest of Republicans on Friday in opposing the package, which fell from 220 to 207. Oklahoma senators voted against the bill on Sunday. President Joe Biden is expected to sign the legislation soon.
Representative Tom Cole of Moore also criticized the tax portion of the bill this week, as well as the major funding increase for the Internal Revenue Service.
“These new taxes will fall on every taxpayer, and the IRS will focus on every taxpayer,” Cole said.
“Policies like these are bad enough in good times, but raising taxes when we’re in recession – even though (the Democrats) won’t admit it – violates all the fundamentals of good economics, let alone common sense.”
Democrats defended the bill, saying it would lower prescription drug prices for seniors, help millions of Americans afford health insurance, further subsidize clean energy sources and ease drought. in western states.
“It will enable the United States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 through investments such as my supply of clean hydrogen and make it more affordable for families to buy energy. and cost-effective products like electric vehicles and solar panels,” Rep. Suzan said. DelBene, D-Wash.
Analysis shows bill will have ‘negligible effect on inflation’
According to Senate Democrats, the bill would bring in $737 billion over 10 years, including $265 billion from estimated savings on drugs purchased by Medicare, the health insurance program for seniors. A new 15% corporate tax — which Democrats say targets companies that escape tax under the current code — would raise about $222 billion over 10 years. A 1% tax on corporate stock buybacks would raise about $74 billion over 10 years.
Most of the rest of the new revenue, $124 billion, comes from increased IRS audits. Democrats argue that additional audits would focus on the wealthiest taxpayers, but Republicans have made the IRS side a major rallying cry against the bill, arguing that all taxpayers will become targets.
Spending on clean energy and health care subsidies would cost about $437 billion, leaving $300 billion in deficit reduction over the next decade, Democrats say.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said last week that the bill, called the Inflation Reduction Act, would have a “negligible effect on inflation” in calendar year 2022 and little, if any, impact in during the calendar year 2023.
Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Cheyenne, accused Democrats of doubling down on policies that fueled inflation in the United States.
“Unfortunately for the American people, the Washington Democrats’ solution to record inflation is to spend hundreds of billions more and raise taxes on American businesses,” he said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, said, “Proudly, this legislation is a giant leap in President Biden and Democrats’ tireless commitment to justice: from economic and health fairness to justice. ‘tax fairness to environmental justice. And in keeping with Democrats’ ‘tax responsibility’, all of these monumental investments are fully paid for – ensuring that the biggest corporations and ultra-wealthy tax cheats pay their fair share.”
Energy industry advocacy groups speak out against the bill
The Petroleum Alliance of Oklahoma joined a letter sent Thursday by the American Petroleum Institute to House leaders opposing the bill. The API letter says the package would impose an $11.7 billion tax on crude oil and petroleum products; establish a new $6.3 billion tax on natural gas; and it excludes reforms to the permitting process for oil and gas projects on federal lands.
Democrats have promised to approve legislation later this year to streamline permits and pave the way for a 300-mile pipeline that was a condition for supporting Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia.
An analysis of the oil and gas provisions by Taxpayers for Common Sense indicates that the bill would “finally bring the federal leasing system into the 21st century.” Among the reforms cited by the group were raising royalty rates for taxpayers and ending uncompetitive leasing by oil and gas companies.
Bice, whose district includes several oil and gas companies – including Devon, Continental Resources and Chesapeake Energy – attacked the oil and gas provisions of the bill, including increases in rental rates and royalties for drilling on land federal.
Four years ago, Bice voted for the $447 million tax package that raised the initial tax rate on oil and gas wells from 2% to 5% for the first three years, the rate then dropping to 7%. The bill also increased the state gasoline tax by 3 cents per gallon and the diesel tax by 6 cents per gallon.
The gross production tax increase was opposed by the Oklahoma Oil and Gas Association and the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association. The tax hike funded a pay rise for teachers that year and contributed to a huge increase in state revenue in recent months as crude prices rose.
When Bice ran for Congress two years ago, the Washington, D.C.-based Club for Growth spent a lot trying to win her because of the tax vote. One of his main GOP opponents also criticized the vote.
During a debate, Bice defended its vote by saying that the state budget had been cut for three consecutive years due to the economic downturn, caused in part by falling oil prices.
“I cut services, I cut fat, I did this,” she said then. “But at some point you have to lead and you have to make tough choices, and I did that for Oklahoma and the future of Oklahoma.”