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posted: 7/10/2011 12:01 AM

End to tax incentive will hurt Illinois

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We're all feeling the pain at the gas pump this summer, even with prices easing a bit since Memorial Day highs. But we have to watch closely what's happening in Washington as our politicians are considering a knee-jerk reaction to higher gas prices with energy policy that would make our problems even worse.

Some in Congress are pushing a piecemeal energy strategy led by an effort to end "dual capacity" rules, the long-held practice of allowing businesses to take an income tax credit here for the revenue they generate overseas. The dual-capacity rule helps level the playing field for businesses -- many of which employ a significant number of people throughout Illinois.

As the head of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, I know firsthand the struggles our businesses face to stay competitive in the global marketplace. Every little advantage that our competitors abroad can take, they do -- costing us dearly. Ending these tax incentives will hurt our ability to compete, thus costing us jobs and damaging our economic recovery.

The hyperbole coming from Washington has mistakenly been about ending tax breaks for rich corporations. Our leaders in Washington need to understand the truth: political gamesmanship over gas prices is nothing but a distraction from promoting and protecting our energy future.

Make no mistake, increasing taxes on oil and gas companies will cost people jobs in Illinois. It will increase -- not lower -- our gas prices. Costs will rise for the many businesses that depend on a stable, cost-efficient oil and gas supply to do their work. And it will put further at risk our efforts to take control of the security and stability of our oil supplies.

Illinois is struggling enough and too many are out of work. We don't need to jeopardize our economy in the guise of an attack on big oil.

Doug Whitley


Illinois Chamber of Commerce