Last week, the committee of influence on all tax-related issues, House Ways and Means, held a hearing on expiring programs that provide tax incentives for companies to create jobs and reduce their impact on the environment.
During the hearing, Ways and Means Committee members heard from members of Congress on how allowing economy-boosting tax incentives such as the Production Tax Credit for the wind industry to expire would be disastrous for their own districts, their own state and have a national impact as well.
Member after member, Democrat and Republican, legislators who provided testimony emphasized the importance of not raising taxes on businesses as the economy continues its recovery. We agree, now is not the time to raise taxes on the growing clean energy economy.
New Hampshire Congressman Charlie Bass spoke to the specific benefits of this important tax credit in his state. New Hampshire has a Renewable Portfolio Standard of 25 percent by 2025, meaning 25 percent of energy in the state must be generated by solar, wind or other clean energy sources. Four years into this clean energy pursuit, New Hampshire is well on its way to achieving its goals, but failing to renew the Production Tax Credit threatens that agenda.
These aren’t veiled threats. We’ve already seen the effect lapses in these tax credits would have on the economy. Bass mentioned that in 2004 when the tax credit lapsed, wind production fell by 77 percent which was devastating to the industry. Also, one project in the works Bass mentioned would produce $81 million in revenue and take a leap forward in New Hampshire’s compliance with the renewable standard. Nationally, 37,000 jobs are at risk.
Noted conservative Congressman Steve King of Iowa proclaimed his unabashed support for extending the PTC for four years and called on his fellow conservatives to do the same.
"The blind shots that are taken by, I'll say hyper-libertarianism, that simply looks at something and says, 'That's a subsidy. We can't have that,' I'm wondering where they're going to come up with power down the line," King said.
The cost of a lapse would have ripple effects across the economy, a package of clean energy tax extenders, including the PTC are necessary to sustain clean energy growth.
Axe-wielding lawmakers who threaten the existence of this tax credit, put your axes down this time. The effect of failing to extend these tax credits is raising taxes when we can’t afford to and you would also be axing thousands of clean energy jobs of the future.