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Oil Firms Profit While Small Companies Take a Hit, Senator Says

Nicholas Ballasy | Video Reporter | Thursday, June 26, 2008

Oil Firms Profit While Small Companies Take a Hit, Senator Says

Video Report. (CNSNews.com) - Small business owners in Maryland and across the country are hurting and Congress needs to to act swiftly to tackle "skyrocketing" gas prices, said Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) at a Citgo station in Takoma Park, Maryland.

Sen. Cardin is a co-sponsor of the Consumer-First Energy Act of 2008 (S. 2991) which has been blocked by Republicans for consideration in the Senate. The act creates a 25 percent windfall profits tax on oil companies that fail to invest in increased capacity and renewable energy sources.

It also rolls back the $17 billion in tax incentives oil companies get each year, and invests that money to "improve consumer price protection, renewable energy development and energy efficiency technology," according to the Democrats' Official Senate web site.

Citing oil and gas companies' profits of $130 billion up from $30 billion two years earlier, Cardin said this bill should be passed to give some relief to small business owners.

"Sixty-two percent of small business owners use a vehicle in their business. They need automobiles. They have to fill these tanks with gasoline. In the short-term, we need to provide immediate relief, not partisan gridlock," he said. "In the long-term, we need to end our dependence on oil and move our nation toward alternative, renewable sources of energy."

Rep. Van Hollen (D-Md.), also at the press conference, has introduced the Energy Markets Anti-Manipulation and Integrity Restoration Act in the House. This bill would close the so-called "Enron loophole" by adding energy commodities to the list of items that "cannot be traded on deregulated, exempt commercial markets," according to a press release issued by his office.

"With high fuel prices squeezing our family budgets and burdening our economy, the American public needs relief," said Van Hollen. Watch the Video.

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