Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Wisconsin Consumers Deserve $88 Million Refund

Gov. Doyle, Seven Other Governors: Call For An End to Oil Industry Price Gouging

Wisconsin Consumers Deserve $88 Million Refund

Governor Jim Doyle and seven other governors today sent a letter to President Bush and Congress calling for an investigation into profiteering by oil companies in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The Governors urged Congress to pass legislation requiring oil companies to refund their excess profits to consumers.

Governor Doyle said Wisconsin consumers have been overcharged by an estimated $88 million this month and called for those funds to be refunded to the people of Wisconsin.

'I am pleased that seven Governors have joined me in calling on President Bush and Congress to take action against the big oil companies that have overcharged citizens across the country in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and to pass federal legislation requiring those companies to provide a refund to our citizens,' Governor Doyle said. 'States around the country are responding in various ways to try to partially alleviate the recent spikes in gas prices. But the reality is that this is a national problem that requires action on the federal level.'

Governor Doyle cited a recent analysis by Don Nichols, Ph.D., economist, and director of the Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which showed recent price spikes can't be explained by Hurricane Katrina. In fact, his study found that the markup from the price of crude to the price of gas has nearly tripled in the aftermath of Katrina.

The letter is signed by Governor Doyle, Governor Rod Blagojevich of Illinois, Governor Tom Vilsack of Iowa, Governor Jennifer Granholm of Michigan, Governor Brian Schweitzer of Montana, Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico, Governor Ted Kulongoski of Oregon, and Governor Christine Gregoire of Washington.

'Even though the price of oil has stabilized and prices are going down - they are going down much too slowly and remain at an unacceptably high price," Governor Doyle said. "This issue is not going to go away on its own and we are urging Congress to immediately investigate the excessive profits being made by oil companies."

Governor Doyle said that Senator Dave Hansen and Representative Josh Zepnick are proposing legislation to combat this problem on the state level, and to help ensure that Wisconsin consumers are not being taken advantage of by big oil companies.

"Taking advantage of someone, especially in difficult times, is a despicable act that should not be tolerated in our society," Senator Hansen said. "While the free market generally works, it is the government's role to protect innocent people from those who would prey on them in times of desperation."