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Mr. LANDRY. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
Mr. Speaker, this week marks another tax day, culminating another year that Americans have been subjected to an outdated and overcomplicated Tax Code.
Three years ago on tax day, I attended the first Tea Party rally in my hometown of New Iberia. I was fed up with an overreaching government and fed up with an overburdensome Tax Code.
As a small business owner in the oil and gas industry, I've created jobs; I have made payroll; I have paid insurance; I have balanced budgets. I did these things like the majority of small businesses out there across America did, with hard work, determination, and, of course, a fantastic accountant to sift through the 3,837,105 words of the United States Tax Code.
Mr. Speaker, it's no secret that small businesses are the real drivers of our economy. To date, small businesses employ half of the U.S. workers. And despite our lagging recovery, they have managed to generate nearly 65 percent of all of the new jobs created over the past 15 years, often outperforming their larger counterparts.
I often speak with small business owners in my district. The one word I hear again and again from them is ``uncertainty.'' From looming health care mandates to volatile energy prices, American small businesses simply don't know what to expect. To the farmer out there who is watching his energy prices and his fertilizer prices increase, to the small business owner trying to determine if hiring that new talent is the responsible thing to do, to building a new factory, the uncertainty in the current environment is what is keeping them from expanding and what is keeping them from creating jobs.
The oil and gas industry is a classic example. And I'm not talking about Big Oil. I'm talking about the nearly 18,000 independent oil and gas producers here in this country who are small business owners. These small business owners develop 95 percent of all oil and gas wells, produce 68 percent of America's oil, produce 82 percent of America's gas. In total, America's onshore independent oil and gas small businesses supported 2.1 million direct jobs here in the United States in 2010.
In my State alone, over 47,000 people are employed directly by the oil and gas sector. When you add in other aspects of the oil and gas industry--refining, transportation, pipeline--there are over 111,000 people in the State of Louisiana directly employed by the oil and gas industry.
And just like every other small business, these businesses, the ones that literally fuel America, are faced with a crushing tax burden that threatens their very survival. And they hear from our President who is threatening to take away parts of the Tax Code that helps them.
I'm not talking about Big Oil subsidies. I'm not talking about lowering the corporate tax rate either. Believe it or not, most of our domestic energy producers don't pay that corporate tax rate. They don't get a subsidy. They don't get a direct check from the government. They simply are taking advantage of the same credits out there that other small businesses around this country partake in.
Logically, as most small businesses deduct their expenses, these small businesses deduct theirs as well. These independent producers, like other small businesses, like I said, do not receive a direct check from the government. Instead, it's a cost of doing business.
Without the ability to expense these ordinary and necessary business costs, an independent producer would have to reduce its drilling budget by 20 percent to 35 percent almost immediately and bring a drastic decrease of energy production here in this country.
Without this reinvestment, U.S. production would decline rapidly because wells deplete as they are produced. America cannot afford a decrease in energy production, and small oil and gas businesses cannot afford a tax hike.
Tax hikes would also hurt American retirees whose mutual funds, pension plans, IRAs are invested in these publicly traded oil and gas companies, all the while harming American energy.
With so much uncertainty being created here in Washington, the threat of billions of dollars in new job-crushing tax hikes, a Federal takeover of hydraulic fracturing, regulations, less access to taxpayer-owned energy resources of our Federal lands, the permitting process still lagging, the cost of doing business continues to be challenging.
Mr. Speaker, Washington can do better. We can do better. We owe it to our small business owners in every industry to provide for a basic sense of consistency and certainty in our Tax Code.
Tomorrow the House will consider the Small Business Tax Cut Act, legislation that would allow small businesses to deduct 20 percent of their active income in order to retain more capital and create more jobs.
I congratulate our majority leader for bringing this bill to the floor. I'm confident that with a strong step in the right direction, we will continue to work to make sure that our small businesses have the certainty they need to grow and to thrive.
I thank you, Mr. Speaker.
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