Rendell looks at oil profits tax to fill state transportation hole

    Governor Rendell says a new tax on oil companies would generate nearly $1 billion for Pennsylvania’s transportation needs.

    Rendell says due to their use of the Delaware Loophole, major oil companies only pay about $65 million worth of income tax in Pennsylvania.

    He’s pushing for a bill exempting energy giants like Exxon Mobil and BP from the corporate net income tax, but creating a new levy on their profits.

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    The governor says his measure would make sure the companies don’t increase gas prices to pay for the tax by creating an index of states with rates similar to Pennsylvania.

    “If those other three states go up two cents an average and we go up sixteen cents an average, then those companies are subject to investigation by the Attorney General, and have to come up with a reason,” Rendell explains. “Otherwise they’ll be subject to severe civil and criminal penalties.”

    Rendell concedes the language would likely be challenged in court, but says he’s confident a judge would rule in Pennsylvania’s favor.

    The oil company tax is the governor’s preference for filling the transportation funding gap created when the federal government rejected a plan to toll Interstate 80.

    He says the tax could generate up to $900 million a year.

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