Who Owns “Big Oil”?
We’ve previously pointed out that a tax on natural gas is a direct tax on landowners, but a new study shows it hurts teachers and state workers too.
“Big Oil” isn’t owned by high-level executives—in fact, corporate management only owns 1.5 percent of industry share—it’s owned by tens of millions of Americans who invest in oil and natural gas stocks through mutual funds and pension funds.
The new report looked at the financial contribution of oil and gas investments to major public pension plans. In Pennsylvania, the state workers (SERS) and school district employees (PSERS) pension funds invest heavily in oil and natural gas companies. These investments make up 3.4 percent of investments, but contributed 8.6 percent of the returns from 2005 to 2008.
Some of SERS and PSERS most lucrative investments are in oil and gas. Politicians seeking to soak gas companies with new taxes are really hurting teachers and state workers, not to mention taxpayers. Indeed, taxpayer contributions to pension funds are already scheduled to skyrocket, and that is assuming 8 percent annual return (fueled by energy stocks).