Doyle wants tax on oil companies
They'd be pressed to absorb cost
By PATRICK MARLEY
Posted: Feb. 12, 2007
Madison - Gov. Jim Doyle will unveil a tax on oil companies on Tuesday but will bar the firms from passing it on to consumers.
The tax would mark the first cash infusion into the state's transportation account since an annual automatic increase in the gas tax ended in April.
But some question whether the state can legally prevent companies from passing taxes on to consumers.
Doyle also wants to raise the driver's licenses fee by $10 or so to help cover the state's cost of complying with a new federal law requiring more secure identification. A $10 increase would bring the cost of a three-year license to $28 and an eight-year renewal to $34.
Both proposals would need the approval of lawmakers.
Doyle, a Democrat, said the new tax on oil companies would be a good way to have firms that have enjoyed record profits fund highways and other transportation projects.
"It seems to me that these companies that have had such a big killing - and this is money that has come directly out of the pockets of the people of Wisconsin and the people of the United States - they ought to be doing their share to help with the infrastructure needs," Doyle said.
Oil company officials would face up to six months in jail if they passed the tax on to consumers. The state Department of Revenue would audit the firms to ensure they do not.
"I think, given the severity of the penalties and the enforcement unit we'll put in place, any oil company would run a very big risk in Wisconsin if they attempted to violate that law," Doyle said.
My God! Here we have a high government official revealing for the first time to all the world that corporations generally pass along additional costs in the form of price increases to consumers. So, after all these years of legislation and regulation of evil corporations, we find out now that those corporations merely raised their prices on us poor dumb consumers!!?? And now, by thunder! the governor is going to put a stop to that sort of nonsense!
This will be the start of something big nationwide, I can just see it. This ground-breaking, outside-the-box thinking on the part of our governor will mean billions in revenue for states and the federal government who never quite figured out how to put the hammer lock on corporations before now. Just make them eat those additional taxes! No fair getting relief by charging more for your product! If you do then it's six months in the hoosegow for you, buddy!
Hey! That's how we can finally get rid of the tobacco companies! Instead of raising the tax on packs of cigarettes (Doyle wants to double the cigarette tax, too) why not make the tobacco companies pay the tax – and force them to pay it out of their profits, not in the form of higher cigarette prices? Brilliant! Absolutely smashingly brilliant!
What kind of chump does he take us for? ("First class", yeah, I know!)
Update: Blogger Bob Krumm weighs in.