Letter: Do the math on oil company taxes

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I am writing in response to a letter in the May 23 edition of The Forecaster. The letter stated that ExxonMobil earned around $40 billion, while paying $59 billion in taxes.

This is misleading. ExxonMobil obviously did not pay $1.45 in taxes on every dollar it made. ExxonMobil is the largest company in the world by revenue, which would not be possible if they were paying more money in taxes than they were earning. The writer of the letter may have been confused, as ExxonMobil’s annual net income has averaged around $40 billion over the past six or seven years. But that number would be after taxes, operating costs, etc. ExxonMobil’s annual revenue over that same period averaged around $365 billion. If the tax number the writer quoted is correct ($59 billion per year averaged across those years), that would mean that ExxonMobil paid a much less outrageous 16 cents for every dollar they earned. To put that in perspective – if that number is correct – ExxonMobil would be paying less in taxes than I did while working for minimum wage at a record store.

And of course, none of this math takes into account many of the other costs of oil – the troops and ships we send overseas to “secure” it, the health-care costs and environmental costs to people who live near the pumping and processing facilities, the pollution caused by shipping it half way around the world, and so many other things that we all pay for with both our tax dollars and our well being.

Jordan Ossie