Tuesday, April 13, 2010, 10:30am – 12:00pm
Washington, D.C. – Congress has started its review of President Obama’s $4 trillion budget request. But this review process largely ignores nearly 25 percent of government spending.
This undercover spending is made up of tax expenditures — tax subsidies for companies and individuals that are often enacted as substitutes for direct government spending. When government gives oil companies billions of dollars in tax breaks every year, for example, the outcome is the same as simply writing checks to oil companies. The oil companies are billions of dollars richer, and government revenues are billions of dollars reduced. All told, tax expenditures cost the federal treasury $1.2 trillion a year.
This is not to say that all tax expenditures are bad. They also help people save for retirement and provide incentives for companies to invest in green energy technologies and general research. But tax expenditures deserve as much scrutiny as direct federal spending. Those that work should be retained, and those that don’t should be eliminated or reformed. Our country’s fiscal condition makes this especially urgent. We must maximize value out of every dollar spent — tax expenditures included.
Please join the Center for American Progress’s Doing What Works project for an event that takes a closer look at our system of tax expenditure spending. This event will give particular attention to energy tax expenditures, which have soared over the last decade to more than $10 billion
Congressman Lloyd Doggett, House Budget Committee and Senior Member of the House Ways and Means Committee, U.S. Congress
Kate Gordon, Vice President for Energy Policy, Center for American Progress
Matt Rogers, Senior Advisor, U.S. Department of Energy
Eric Toder, Fellow, Urban Institute; former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tax Analysis, Department of Treasury
Michael Ettlinger, Vice President for Economic Policy, Center for American Progress
Center for American Progress 1333 H St. NW, 10th Floor Washington, DC 20005
Map & Directions Nearest Metro: Blue/Orange Line to McPherson Square or Red Line to Metro Center