The ExxonMobil open line | Arkansas Blog

Monday, July 22, 2013

The ExxonMobil open line

Posted By on Mon, Jul 22, 2013 at 4:15 PM

The line is open. Final note:

A SOP FOR VICTIMS: U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin files a bill to give a tax benefit to spill victims. But not those who have to sue to recover.
  • A SOP FOR VICTIMS: U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin files a bill to give a tax benefit to spill victims. But not those who have to sue to recover.
* MAYFLOWER OIL SPILL VICTIMS: WHO GETS HELPED?: U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin has gotten a lot of mileage today on his news release about filing legislation to exempt payments by ExxonMobil to Mayflower oil spill victims from the federal income tax, a benefit given in some other disaster circumstances.

A little flyspecking: The legislation makes no effort to define who should get benefits, just cover those who do. As you know, ExxonMobil has, to date, talked about compensation of "direct" victims, but residents a bit farther away who've complained of persistent fumes, fears of unseen chemicals and other life disruptions, say ExxonMobil hasn't been very attentive. No payments; no tax exemption, naturally. Lawsuits have already been filed in expectation that ExxonMobil won't provide adequate compensation.

So: What if people sue for damages Exxon won't pay? Or what if they sue for amounts in excess of what Exxon is willing to pay? Griffin's legislation DOES NOT provide a tax deduction for any money paid as a result of court-awarded judgments, his office said.

Griffin's office disputed my suggestion that giving the victims a tax break, rather than pressing Exxon to scale up the payment to also cover taxes, amounted to a taxpayer subsidy of Exxon. The bill is about victims, not Exxon, the spokesman said. He added that Griffin had asked Exxon to make that additional payment.

Similarly, a spokesman said another of my questions wasn't pertinent. It was about whether ExxonMobil would be able to deduct its payments to victims as an expense in computing ITS income tax — and thus create another way in which taxpayers would subsidize Exxon in covering the cost of the spill. Again, the bill is about spill victims only, not Exxon, he said. Pertinent or not, a CPA of my acquaintance said that Exxon COULD deduct this expense from its income in computing federal taxes, if it owed any. He also added that existing tax law already provides for deductibility of economic losses, including in value of homes through accidents, for income tax purposes, but the code is complicated and might not always shelter payments in excess of cost value of a property. But we won't let such technicalities get in the way of a good news release by a congressman trying to get on the right side of a public disaster caused by an industry he's championed.

UPDATE: I was reminded that Exxon deducted some half-billion in penalties from the Exxon Valdez oil spil from its income tax bill, already far below the effective rate corporations are expected to pay. In Exxon world, only the little guy pays taxes.

* MEDICAL MARIJUANA PROPOSAL TURNED BACK AGAIN: Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has again rejected the form of a medical marijuana initiative on account of ambiguities. He said it wasn't clear enough that users couldn't grow marijuana at home (the apparent intent) and also has a contradictory section related to transfers of marijuana between non-profit dispensaries. It will be resubmitted.

Tags: , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (22)

Showing 1-22 of 22

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-22 of 22

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Sunday and another open line

    Got anything for the open line?
    • Jul 23, 2017
  • But what about the Clintons? Last refuge of Trump, New York Times

    Trying to compare Donald Trump's reaction to the Russia investigation with Bill Clinton's dealings with Kenneth Starr should be a non-starter if the facts mattered. But these days — and to the New York Times — it ain't necessarily so.
    • Jul 23, 2017
  • Football is king, Bentonville edition

    Good analysis in the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette of an unannounced Bentonville School Board vote last week to put $2 million into a football stadium for West High School despite board assurances in last May's tax election that no money would go to a football stadium.
    • Jul 23, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Federal judge wants John Goodson to explain class action maneuvering

    A show-cause order filed Monday by federal Judge P.K. Holmes of Fort Smith indicates class action attorney John Goodson has some explaining to do about the move of a class action complaint against an insurance company from federal to state court with an instant pre-packaged settlement that has been criticized as a windfall for Goodson.
    • Dec 22, 2015
  • Arkansan on Obama's latest commutation list

    President Obama today announced commutations of the sentences of 111 federal prisoners, including one from Arkansas.
    • Aug 30, 2016
  • Auditor Lea caught not telling the truth

    State Auditor Andrea Lea, who began her tenure in statewide office with a degree of competence unseen in some other Republican counterparts (think Treasurer Dennis Milligan particularly), is becoming more deeply mired in a political scandal.
    • Mar 4, 2016

Most Shared

  • So much for a school settlement in Pulaski County

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Cynthia Howell got the scoop on what appears to be coming upheaval in the Pulaski County School District along with the likely end of any chance of a speedy resolution of school desegregation issues in Pulaski County.
  • Riverfest calls it quits

    The board of directors of Riverfest, Arkansas's largest and longest running music festival, announced today that the festival will no longer be held. Riverfest celebrated its 40th anniversary in June. A press release blamed competition from other festivals and the rising cost of performers fees for the decision.
  • Football for UA Little Rock

    Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college.
  • Turn to baseball

    When the world threatens to get you down, there is always baseball — an absorbing refuge, an alternate reality entirely unto itself.

Most Viewed

  • Football is king, Bentonville edition

    Good analysis in the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette of an unannounced Bentonville School Board vote last week to put $2 million into a football stadium for West High School despite board assurances in last May's tax election that no money would go to a football stadium.
  • But what about the Clintons? Last refuge of Trump, New York Times

    Trying to compare Donald Trump's reaction to the Russia investigation with Bill Clinton's dealings with Kenneth Starr should be a non-starter if the facts mattered. But these days — and to the New York Times — it ain't necessarily so.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Sunday and another open line

    • I ran across this 2004 obituary that will bring tears and laughs to all but…

    • on July 23, 2017
  • Re: Saturday open line

    • Oh come on Vanessa, mess with his mind. Go ahead and use tallywacker.

    • on July 23, 2017
  • Re: Football is king, Bentonville edition

    • Rules, policies and procedures ( that large notebook with all that writing on all those…

    • on July 23, 2017

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation