By David Ivanovich
December 2, 2008
WASHINGTON — President-elect Barack Obama has shelved a proposal to slap the oil and gas companies with a new windfall profits tax because oil prices have dropped so much in recent months, the transition team confirmed today.
"President-elect Obama announced the policy during the campaign because oil prices were above $80 per barrel," a transition aide said. "They are currently below that now and expected to stay below that."
Obama's proposal had called for using the proceeds from the tax to give American consumers an energy rebate worth up to $500 per individual or $1,000 per married couple.
The transition aide could not immediately say whether the rebate plan has been put on hold as well.
The policy shift came to light after officials at the American Small Business League noticed that the windfall profits tax language had been removed from the transition team's Web site in what the group called "an unceremonious and abrupt manner."
Lee Fuller, vice president of government relations for the Independent Petroleum Association of American, applauded the change.
"Certainly, the judgment to withdraw the concept of a windfall profits tax is an important recognition that developing America's oil and natural gas would be seriously damaged by such a tax policy," Fuller said.