SALT LAKE CITY -- A watchdog group wants Utah's congressional delegation to help cut the national debt by targeting gas and oil companies.
The Utah branch of Taxpayers For Common Sense Action held a rally Wednesday morning at the Wallace F. Bennett Federal Building, urging the state's congressmen and senators, particularly Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, to address the national debt by ending special tax breaks that gas and oil companies receive from the federal tax code.
The group also released a report, titled "Subsidy Gusher," and announced a series of Internet ads that will feature House Speaker John Boehner, who has expressed support for considering the end of the subsidies.
The Internet ads encourage Utahns to contact Bishop and other members of Congress about the issue.
The report details specific tax breaks, like the "intangible drilling costs" deduction, that benefit oil and gas companies.
Taxpayers For Common Sense Action spokesman Josh Ewing said those kinds of tax subsidies contribute $15.6 billion a year to the national debt.
Ewing also said Utahns collectively pay nearly $141 million a year in taxes that go to oil and gas companies.
The report can be seen at www.lovecomm.net/TCSUtahreport.
Max Holloway, owner of CG4 Solutions, a software company based in Clearfield, attended the rally in support of ending the tax breaks.
"Cutting oil subsidies is just one step in getting our financial house in order," Holloway said. "But it can be a big statement."
Holloway said gas and oil companies have no trouble making a profit and they don't need the help of subsidies.
He also said businesses like his don't get any special tax breaks that help their bottom lines.
Bishop, meanwhile, said national debt problems won't be fixed by increasing taxes on energy producers.
"Washington has a spending problem, not a revenue problem," said Bishop spokeswoman Melissa Subbotin.
"Raising taxes on American energy producers and consumers will do nothing to bring down gas prices and will only further hinder job creation."