Letter: Increasing taxes for energy businesses penalizes success

In his State of the Union address, President Obama talked a lot about reform and closing those pesky “loopholes” in the tax code that let some businesses pay less than others. For his administration that has long meant open season on the energy industry and attempts to end long-standing tax incentives that boost production and help keep U.S. oil and gas companies competitive with foreign producers.

Why should we care if energy companies pay more in taxes? Right now, the price at the gas pump is lower than it has been in years. But that could change if the energy industry gets a bigger tax bill. Price increases in fuel mean a higher cost of doing business for manufacturing and other businesses and a new bump in the road for our still-recovering economy. It could also mean fewer good offers when college graduates are ready to enter the job market.

Maybe with a Republican-controlled Congress, which now includes Iowa’s newly minted Senator Joni Ernst, better judgment will prevail. And maybe the Obama administration will stop trying to penalize energy businesses for making a profit, creating jobs and putting lots of tax revenue dollars into state treasuries. After all, those dollars help fund public services such as higher education.