Oil spending report - SF

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Only 3 states produce more barrels of oil per day than California.[1] California produces nearly 300,000 barrels more oil per day than the next competitor, with the states rich Shale fields, that number could skyrocket in the near future.[2] With refineries scattered throughout the state, offshore drilling, and billions of barrels of oil reserves, oil is as big of business in California as anything else.  And oil companies are no strangers to opposition. Their impact on their neighbors has given them a poor reputation for decades.

This brief will look at another way Big Oil stands in the way of a prosperous future for Californians – through manipulating our democracy with substantial lobbying and political donations.[3] This lobbying and political giving lets big oil dodge taxes, control legislation, and take in huge benefits to their business. In this way, Big Oil epitomizes the politics of the 1%: using money to buy influence to make greater profit, at the expense of working families.

California’s working families face many issues like education, jobs, and funding for vital services and pensions. The elderly, students, the disabled, community members and small business people are paying the price of a state whose funding levels are simply inadequate. Tax cutting, belt tightening and unkept promises to the people over the past 40 years have our state in a precarious condition. Nearly $35 billion dollars has been cut from the state budget for education and health and human services.

Our funding crisis certainly is not due to the lack of wealth. There is absolutely no questions that the wealth that exist in this state is enough to adequately fund all the needs of California’s working families. Big Oil, with their staggering profits, stands as glowing proof. In the last 60 seconds, big oil earned another $177,000.[4]

Instead of taxing the billions of dollars in resources Big Oil takes from California in a similar fashion to states such as Alaska, Texas and North Dakota, we allow Big Oil to keep tipping the scale against California’s elderly, students and working families. With their lobbying and political donations, they make sure the scale remains weighted in their favor.



[1] Dorrish, Joe. "Top Ten Oil Producing States in the United States." Yahoo Contributor Network. Yahoo.com, 4 Apr. 2013. Web. 05 Mar. 2014.

[2] Onishi, Norimitsu. "Vast Oil Reserve May Now Be Within Reach, and Battle Heats Up." The New York Times. The New York Times, 03 Feb. 2013. Web. 05 Mar. 2014.

[3] A more in-depth report will be release in late March 2014.

[4] Weiss, Daniel, and Miranda Peterson. "With Only $93 Billion in Profits, the Big Five Oil Companies Demand to Keep Tax Breaks." Center for American Progress., 10 Feb. 2014. Web. 05 Mar. 2014.

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ABOUT US: ReFUND California is a coalition of organizations throughout California committed to exposing the unfairness of the state’s current economic reality and engaging in public campaigns to force the changes that are necessary.

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