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Lobbying against one’s own bottom line

Last week, Congress agreed to both a $650 billion tax extenders package and $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill to fund the federal government for the next fiscal year. Lobbyists are now celebrating the “wins” for their corporate clients and spinning the “losses.” But in a bill so rife with cronyism and corporate welfare, the biggest loser in this mega-spending package is the American people.

We applaud good provisions in these bills – especially protecting free speech by prohibiting the IRS from taxing contributions to C-4 and C-6 organizations and advancing free trade by lifting the 40-year old crude oil export ban. Unfortunately, to achieve this Congress traded a good free market policy for more corporate welfare in the form of subsidies, credits and egregious corporate handouts.

{mosads}There is no worse example of cronyism than altering the Section 199 tax deduction for refiners.  All refiners, including refineries owned by Koch, financially benefit from this deduction. We lobbied – unsuccessfully – against this provision because it’s corporate welfare – plain and simple. It is the antithesis of a healthy system that benefits the American people.

At Koch Industries, we oppose all forms of corporate welfare – including all forms of subsidies, such as cash payments, loan guarantees, anti-competitive regulations, restrictions on trade, mandates, import tariffs, and tax breaks – even if they benefit us.

Unfortunately, our economy has become riddled with such policies, most of which are essentially baked into the system, making them impossible to avoid. Consequently, we play by the current rules of the game – whatever they are and whether we like them or not – but we will continue to oppose and actively advocate against all forms of corporate welfare.

The wind and solar tax credits included in this bill exemplify how our government hides the cost of electricity mandates by rewarding a few special interests while saddling taxpayers and ratepayers with higher electricity costs.

History shows us that more government intervention through energy subsidies and mandates leads to higher costs for businesses and consumers, and makes people’s lives worse, especially the poor.

At a time when our nation faces monumental economic challenges, extending and growing energy tax subsidies and mandates obscures the path we should be pursuing – one toward a simpler and less burdensome tax code.

Going forward, we hope Congress will begin to defend and advocate for a system that makes people’s lives better and does not give preferential treatment to certain constituencies – individuals and industries alike.

Ellender is president of government and public affairs at Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC. He also serves on the Board of Managers for Flint Hills Resources, Koch Industries’ refining, biofuels, and petrochemical company.


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