Wisconsin Governor: Gouge Away?

By July 3, 2007Energy

We’ve been upbraiding Wisconsin Governor Hugo Doyle pretty regularly for his preposterous and unconstitutional plan to tax “big oil” and its sales in Wisconsin while making it a crime — excuse us, A CRIME!!! — to pass on the additional costs to consumers. He deserves it; the governor’s populist pronouncements poison the public debate and do such an insult to economic reality.

Some more context. Here he is blustering in May 2006, more than a half year after Katrina:

“Wisconsin families are already being squeezed by sky-high gas prices,” said Governor Doyle. “The aftermath of a disaster should not be an excuse for big oil companies to gouge Wisconsin citizens. We need to send a clear message to the big oil companies that they can’t simply raise prices 40 or 50 cents overnight for no reason.”

Here’s Doyle in January, fulminating after a vote in Congress to increase taxes on oil companies.

Over the past year, we have watched the big oil companies reap record profits while middle class families were paying record prices at the pump. At a time when millions of American families were struggling to afford their rising health care costs and kids’ education, it was simply outrageous to reward the big oil companies with billion-dollar tax breaks.

Oh, and here’s the news from this week, courtesy the Appleton Post-Crescent:

MADISON — Two industries often criticized by Gov. Jim Doyle — Big Oil and Big Tobacco — are among his personal investments, according to financial documents filed with the state Ethics Board.

Doyle invests in several mutual funds that contain two of the largest U.S. oil companies, ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips, and one of the world’s largest tobacco companies, British American Tobacco.

The governor, who has accused Big Oil of gouging consumers at the gas pump and attacked Big Tobacco for putting a squeeze on Wisconsin’s economy, said through a spokesman on Friday that he has no problem with investing in mutual funds that include oil and tobacco companies and has no plans to divest from them.

Join the discussion One Comment

  • BillWilliam says:

    The Governor has a right to gripe, as do all of us as free speech. The Bush administration has given many tax breaks and other incentives to oil companies. What do we have to show for it. Dangerous, poorly maintained equipment, and pipelines. See news about BP explosions, leaking pipelines shutting down Prudhoe Bay, lack of refining capacity, and other problems. What we need is compulsory regulations not voluntary and taxes on the oil to pay for it that cannot be passed on to the consumer. The oil companies have been taking advantage of the consumer and it needs to stop. Yes I have petroleum stocks among others. If you took economics in school you know a commodity controlled by a few companies does not follow normal supply and demand curves. You must buy gas to get to work, buy food etc.

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