Fossil fuel companies scored billions in tax breaks, but still laid off thousands of workers

Fossil fuel companies scored billions in tax breaks, but still laid off thousands of workers

View of an oil refinery spewing pollution into the air

Wikipedia

Fossil fuel companies got billions in tax breaks and laid off more than 58,000 workers last year, a report from BailoutWatch found.

Provisions in the CARES Act passed last March, gave 77 fossil fuel companies $8.2 billion in tax breaks, and their laid off workers a $1,200 stimulus check. Using SEC data, the report shows Marathon Petroleum, the biggest single beneficiary, got more than $2 billion before laying off almost 2,000 workers — about 9% of its workforce at a rate of around $1 million per laid off worker.

Five companies went bankrupt after receiving $308.7 million in tax bailouts and laid off a total of 5,683 workers.

“I’m not surprised that these companies took advantage of these tax benefits, but I’m horrified by the layoffs after they got this money,” said Chris Kuveke, a researcher at BailoutWatch, told The Guardian. “Last year’s stimulus was about keeping the economy going, but these companies didn’t use these resources to retain their workers. These are companies that are polluting the environment, increasing the deadliness of the pandemic and letting go of their workers.”

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