Letters to the editor on Kochs, energy politics

09/25/2012 12:00 AM

09/24/2012 5:37 PM

Koch favors ending all subsidies

Kevin Horrigan’s commentary was misleading and a disservice to readers (“GOP acts as bellhop for corporations, Kochs,” Sept. 21 Opinion).

Yes, Koch Industries benefits from subsidies – a fact Charles Koch stated in his Wall Street Journal commentary. This is not hypocrisy, as Horrigan claimed. Rather, where subsidies exist, any company that opts out will be at a disadvantage and often driven out of business by competitors with the artificial advantage. This perverse incentive drives out companies that are in favor of sound fiscal policy and opposed to subsidies, and favors inefficient companies that are dependent on subsidies.

Koch’s long-standing position is to end to all subsidies, which distort the market and ultimately cost taxpayers billions of dollars.

Horrigan faulted Koch for not mentioning the company’s lawful contributions to “conservative politicians and causes.” Charles Koch has publicly advocated for and supported free-market causes for decades. This is a First Amendment right that people and groups across the political spectrum also exercise.

The columnist falsely claimed that Koch has funded anti-labor organizations. About 15,000 of our 50,000 U.S employees are represented by labor unions. We have long-standing, mutually beneficial relationships with these unions.

In this time when far too few speak up for economic freedom, Charles Koch challenges out-of-control government spending and rampant cronyism that undermines our economy, political system and culture. For this, he should be lauded, not vilified.

MELISSA COHLMIA

Corporate communication director

Koch Companies Public Sector

Wichita

Energy politics

Kansas wind-energy politics is an interesting dichotomy of Republicans, pitting U.S. Reps. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, and Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, in one corner against Sens. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran and Gov. Sam Brownback in the other.

The former are fundamentally correct in stating government should not be picking winners and losers, but their agenda and proposed legislation imply otherwise. Their clever “tax credit bad, tax deduction good” approach targets the 20-year wind-tax credit while leaving untouched the 100-year intangible drilling costs and percentage depletion tax deductions that benefit oil and gas.

The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service doesn’t employ their semantics nor participate in such ruses. It has indicated these oil and gas deductions cost $189 billion from 1968 to 2010, while all renewable credits cost $17.5 billion from 1979 to 2010.

The naive freshmen representatives’ targeting of the wind industry has resulted in congressional backlash now threatening these oil and gas deductions. Hence the recent need of Harold Hamm, Mitt Romney’s campaign energy guru and an Oklahoma City oil and gas CEO, to defend them in the Senate and House. Our senior Republican leaders understand parity, seeing Kansas as an all-of-the-above energy state, and have the wisdom not to pick such fights.

MARK RICHARDSON

Hutchinson

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