Pipeline companies will get a $7 billion tax break through 2016

Pipeline companies will get a $7 billion tax break through 2016

There are people in Washington, D.C., right now scratching their heads and writing memos and trying to figure out how on earth we might possibly avoid budgetary doomsday, the sequestration that will lop some $1.2 trillion out of the federal budget over the next decade. Again, this is only happening because Congress tried to threaten itself. It’s like you threatening to rob yourself by holding a gun to your head and then trying to figure out how to keep from being robbed.

But while all of this is happening, something else is going on in Our Nation’s Capital™: Pipeline companies are getting an even larger tax break than expected. From Bloomberg:

A tax break used by oil and gas pipeline companies such as Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP (KMP) will cost the U.S. government $7 billion through 2016, about four times more than previously estimated, Congress’s tax scorekeepers said this month.

The nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation quadrupled its cost estimate for exempting the fast-growing “master limited partnerships” from corporate income tax in the year ended in September to $1.2 billion from $300 million. The annual cost will rise to $1.6 billion by fiscal 2016, the committee said.

$7 billion. $1.6 billion a year. Tack on the estimated $4 billion in tax breaks the oil industry receives each year, and pretty soon you’re talking about real money.

Some people, new to American politics, think this pipeline tax break will become a political target. If it does, it will only be a target for as long as it takes for the American Petroleum Institute to do some overwrought hand-wringing about job creation. Then it will be ignored once again.

After all, with sequestration threatening to devastate funding for education, public safety, public health, child care programs, worker training, and the military, D.C.’s best minds are already occupied with problem-solving. And they’ll get the job done, no need to worry. In short order, they’ll figure out how to avoid those cuts to the military. That thief won’t steal all their money.

Philip Bump writes about the news for Gristmill. He also uses Twitter a whole lot.

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Pipeline companies will get a $7 billion tax break through 2016

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