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Oil Company Assessment Now Gas Tax Increase

Changes are being proposed to Governor Doyle’s budget provision to raise $260 million by imposing a tax on oil companies' revenue. Recognizing the legal issues with preventing companies and cooperatives from passing the cost of this tax onto consumers, the State Assembly will be amending this provision to allow the tax to be added onto the price of gasoline.

For years, political rhetoric has taken aim at “big oil” with politicians offering a new tax on companies’ revenues. Of course, this tax inevitably gets shifted down to consumers in the form of higher gas prices at the pump. Yet, while such a tax shift was publicly denied, it was too politically tempting to draw a connection between those that opposed such a tax as being captive to big oil.

The Assembly Democrats are now preparing to pass an oil tax that would explicitly allow the pass through to consumers, acknowledging that earlier rhetoric was not legally sound. This would mean another 4 cents per gallon tax increase on gas in Wisconsin at a time when the state’s economy is suffering and gas prices are spiking.