Alexander: End Wind Production Tax Credit To Pay For Budget Agreement

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Senator Lamar Alexander and a bipartisan group of senators on Tuesday sent a letter to Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mt.) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-Ut.), calling on them to let wind power “stand on its own” in the marketplace by allowing the wind production tax credit to expire as required under current law.

The bipartisan letter, led by Senator Alexander and Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), states that after more than 20 years and eight extensions, a 1992 tax credit originally intended to boost a fledgling technology is now subsidizing a “mature technology,” wasting taxpayer money and distorting energy markets by “picking winners and losers.” It requests that the Finance Committee exclude the wind production tax credit – which under current law will have provided $22 billion to wind producers between 1992 and 2022 – from any legislation the committee may consider.

The letter was signed by several members of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Signatories include Senators Alexander, Manchin, Tom Coburn (R-Ok.), Jeff Flake (R-Az.), Mike Lee (R-Ut.), Ron Johnson (R-Wi.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Jeff Sessions (R-Al.), Jim Risch (R-Id.) and John McCain (R-Az.) 

“Congress is struggling to find $63 billion to spend in the budget agreement, when all we have to do is get rid of the wasteful wind production tax credit,” Senator Alexander said. “For the next 10 years, extending the tax credit one year at a time could cost $60 billion or more. Using the wind production tax credit to pay for all or part of the budget agreement would do this country more good than extending this subsidy for expensive, low-quality wind electricity ever could.”

The senators write, “Our nation’s energy policy must make economic sense for taxpayers and not manipulate markets. Continuation of the wind PTC not only picks winners and losers, it is distorting our energy markets and it's past time to end a temporary tax credit that was put into law in 1992. After more than 20 years, and tens of billions of tax-payer dollars, it’s time to let the wind PTC expire and continue to invest in new technologies.”

In the letter, the senators call for the Finance Committee to let the wind production tax credit expire as scheduled at the end of 2013 and not consider any kind of extension, pointing out that wind producers will continue to qualify for subsidies if the wind facility is placed in service before Jan. 1, 2016. As it stands now, the wind production tax credit will have given $22 billion to wind producers by 2022, according to the most recent estimate from the Congressional Research Service. That doesn’t include additional subsidies to wind as part of President Obama’s federal stimulus bill, which total another $12.9 billion, according to the U.S. Treasury.

The letter also describes how the wind production tax credit is wasting taxpayer money on what the Obama administration has called a “mature technology” while distorting energy markets, putting cheaper and more reliable forms of energy, such as coal and nuclear, at a competitive disadvantage.


Chattanooga Area Labor Council To Host Workers Memorial Day Event

The Chattanooga Area Labor Council will host a Workers Memorial Day Event on Monday, April 28, to remember all workers who have suffered and died on the job and to renew efforts for safe workplaces.    This is a worldwide campaign, sponsored by the AFL-CIO, to generate awareness and support of workers’ rights to "safe, healthy and respectful work environments."   ... (click for more)

Hicks Speaker For Walker Chamber's Monthly Membership Luncheon

The University of Georgia’s Small Business Development Center will be highlighted by keynote speaker Kinsey Hicks, program coordinator, during the Walker County Chamber of Commerce’s April Membership Luncheon which will take place on Tuesday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Walker County Civic Center, 10052 N Hwy 27, Rock Spring, GA.    The Mission of the ... (click for more)

Bus Driver Will Not Face Charges In Tragic Bus Accident

Sergeant Tommy Sturdivan announced in a Friday afternoon press conference that the investigation into the death of six-year-old Zackery Bryant at Chattanooga Valley Elementary has been officially declared complete and that there will be no criminal charges. Zackery died tragically on Monday morning after being hit by a school bus after stepping off. According to Sgt. Sturdivan, ... (click for more)

Soddy Daisy May Begin Effort To Allow Wine In Grocery Stores; Concussion Forms Required For Sporting Events; WWTA Chided For Causing Potholes

The Soddy Daisy Commission is considering taking steps to allow wine in grocery stores now that Tennessee lawmakers have voted to lift restrictions. To have the law appear on the next ballot for a vote, Mayor Janice Cagle said a petition with an amount of signatures totaling 10 percent of the number of voters in the last general election will have to be collected. Commissioner ... (click for more)

State Moving Forward In Educational Improvements

The State Collaborative on Reforming Education released the following statement from President and CEO Jamie Woodson regarding the 2014 legislative session in Tennessee and HB1549/SB1835, which passed the General Assembly Thursday: After a year of extensive public and legislative conversation regarding higher academic standards and related strategies to improve student learning, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Nudge By Angel Kilbride

Way above us, high in the heavens, a handsome angel everybody calls Ben yelled to Saint Peter on Thursday and told him, “Better send me a couple of rubies and maybe an amethyst … Dad’s crown just got bigger.” To you such a scenario may sound silly and foolish but Bill Kilbride, a dynamic genius who has just been named as president-elect of Chattanooga’s Chamber of Commerce, knows ... (click for more)