Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says he will likely support a proposal in Congress that would raise taxes on oil to beef up a fund the Coast Guard uses to clean up oil spills. Grassley, a Republican, says the measure would quadruple the amount of tax money that’s being set aside for the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund.
“I think the tax is going to be increased and it ought to be increased,” Grassley says. “The extent to which it ought to be increased, since it goes into a trust fund, ought to be directly related to what we think the needs of that trust fund is going to be.” Reports say if the tax is raised 32-cents per barrel of oil, it could generate 11-billion dollars for the fund over the next ten years.
Grassley says he doesn’t know yet what the proposed tax hike would do to gasoline prices at the pump, but says as long as the money is earmarked, he’ll support it. Grassley says, “It shouldn’t be a tax just to bring more money in to spend more money, so whatever the needs are of the trust fund, I will vote for an increase in that tax.”
The proposed tax hike would be on all oil sold in the U.S., both foreign and domestically-produced. Grassley says he won’t support the legislation if it appears it’ll result in more pork. Grassley says, “It might be increased just to have more money coming to Washington to spend on things other than related to environmental or economic harm, then I’m not going to vote for it because we should not be taxing more just to spend more.”
The fund has about one-and-a-half billion dollars in it now. Under the bill, the amount of money that can be spent from the fund on a single incident would be raised from the current one-billion dollars to five-billion.