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Letter to the editor: Tax deductions can't be confused with loopholes

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As tax reform takes shape in Congress, lawmakers with a stake in protecting special deductions and tax preferences all claim to be acting from a pro-growth perspective. But it's the energy industry — now and in the next decade — that will contribute most to robust economic growth in terms of job creation, revenue generation and investment. 

Where are the champions of these businesses?

West Virginia is a key energy state. We've got a major stake in this debate because as things stand now, many of the provisions that allow U.S. energy companies to expand their operations, attract investment and compete in global markets are on the table for reform. Why? Because in a single-minded effort to find a way out of the current fiscal mess, some in our government think higher taxes on energy businesses is a good way to raise cash.

They say the goal of reform is a simpler, fairer tax system. But in what universe is fairness — or even common sense — served by singling out energy companies for higher taxes, considering how important they are to growing our economy?

This is not to say that overhaul of the tax code isn't a good idea. But it only works if legislators stop confusing legitimate tax deductions with loopholes and incentives that preserve jobs, investment and competitiveness with subsidies. 

Tax code reform should not erode the ability of the energy industry to keep fueling our economy. 

Seth Gaskins 
South Charleston