The CARES Act was created to help businesses keep their workers employed. The fossil fuel industry, however, is using this Act to avoid paying millions of dollars in taxes and to get their top executives paid. This has left many, including Sen. Bernie Sanders, in a state of outrage.
Coronavirus has killed more than 85,000 people. Some 36 million workers have lost their jobs. Good thing President Trump is looking out for the real victims of the coronavirus: fossil fuel executives. https://t.co/4sj6gT53f9— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) May 15, 2020
$1.9 billion in CARES Act tax benefits have been allocated to big oil. The “benefits are being claimed by at least 37 oil companies, service firms, and contractors,” says watchdog group Documented senior researcher Jesse Coleman.
Prior to the pandemic, the fossil fuel industry was already struggling financially and the outbreak crippled big oil completely. These bailout tax breaks are what is helping these companies now prosper.
The CARES Act “was sold as help for the little guy — help for small business. In the name of ‘small business,’ we’re shoveling out billions of dollars to big corporations and rich guys,” says Steve Rosenthal, a senior fellow with the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center.
According to Bloomberg, the combination of big losses now and the congressional tax changes mean it may be years before some oil companies have to pay corporate income taxes at all. There’s no limit on how the new refunds can be used — and even bankrupt firms can get them.