Alexander, 6 Senators Oppose "Wasting" Up To $9.4 Billion On Extension Of Wind Production Tax Credit

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Senator Lamar Alexander on Thursday, along with a bipartisan group of six senators, sent a letter to Senate leadership expressing their opposition to an extension of the wind production tax credit.

In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Ne.), the seven senators argued that the expensive subsidy for wind wastes billions of taxpayers’ dollars every year it is extended. 

“This expensive subsidy for wind creates an incentive for investors to build unreliable and unsightly sources of electricity, and distorts the market by giving wind an unfair advantage over other, more reliable and cost-competitive forms of electricity generation,” the letter states. “Even after 22 years and billions of dollars of subsidies, wind only produces four percent of our country’s electricity, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, and that’s when the wind blows – which is only about 35 percent of the time and usually occurs at night, when we don’t need more electricity.  The subsidy for Big Wind is so generous that at times, wind producers can give away their electricity and still make a profit.”

In July, the Senate Finance Committee voted 23-3 to approve legislation to extend expired temporary tax provisions, which included a two-year extension of the wind production tax credit through 2016. The House of Representatives has not extended the wasteful subsidy, and the seven senators agree with the House that the wind production tax credit should remain expired.

Senator Alexander was joined by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.), Jeff Flake (R-Az.), John McCain (R-Az.), James Risch (R-Id.), and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.).

Text of the letter is below:

November 19, 2015

Dear Majority Leader McConnell and Minority Leader Reid:

We write in strong opposition to extending the wind production tax credit.

The House of Representatives has not extended the wind production tax credit, and we agree with the House that this wasteful subsidy should remain expired.

The wind production tax credit has been in place for 22 years and wastes billions of taxpayers’ dollars every year it is extended. According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, Congress’ decision to extend the wind production tax credit last year will cost taxpayers $6.2 billion over 10 years. Further, the Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that the two-year extension proposed in the Tax Relief Extension Act of 2015 (S. 1946) would cost another $9.4 billion over the next ten years – $5.2 billion for 2015 and $4.2 billion for 2016.

The “temporary” subsidy for wind was first enacted in 1992, but has been renewed nine different times since it first expired in 1999. According to the Congressional Research Service, from 1992 to 2014, the production tax credit has cost taxpayers $13.8 billion. In the last seven years alone, the wind production tax credit has cost taxpayers $7.3 billion – more than $1 billion per year.

This expensive subsidy for wind creates an incentive for investors to build unreliable and unsightly sources of electricity, and distorts the market by giving wind an unfair advantage over other, more reliable and cost-competitive forms of electricity generation. Even after 22 years and billions of dollars of subsidies, wind only produces four percent of our country’s electricity, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, and that’s when the wind blows – which is only about 35% of the time and usually occurs at night, when we don’t need more electricity.  The subsidy for Big Wind is so generous that at times, wind producers can give away their electricity and still make a profit. 

Congress should refuse to extend this wasteful tax credit, and we look forward to working with you to resolve this issue.


Chattanooga Chamber Calendar Of Events May 30-June 3

Dalton Sees Drop In April Unemployment Rate

TVA Safely Completes Boone Dam Project, On Time, Under Budget


June 2, Downtown Council Meeting 7:30-9 a.m. Holiday Inn & Suites Chattanooga Downtown: 434 Chestnut St. Our program will focus on LGBTQ+ Pride Month and commemorating the Stonewall ... (click for more)

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said Thursday that Dalton recorded an unemployment rate of 2.6 percent in April, down one percentage point over the month. A year ago, the rate was 4.3 ... (click for more)

Just in time for Memorial Day weekend, residents across the Tri-Cities region will once again enjoy summer recreation activities at Boone Dam. After seven years and two million hours of dam ... (click for more)



Business

Chattanooga Chamber Calendar Of Events May 30-June 3

June 2, Downtown Council Meeting 7:30-9 a.m. Holiday Inn & Suites Chattanooga Downtown: 434 Chestnut St. Our program will focus on LGBTQ+ Pride Month and commemorating the Stonewall Riots and Juneteenth. Our panel of local leaders will discuss the importance and impact of these events and how we can continue to make progress toward more inclusive workplaces and communities. ... (click for more)

Dalton Sees Drop In April Unemployment Rate

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said Thursday that Dalton recorded an unemployment rate of 2.6 percent in April, down one percentage point over the month. A year ago, the rate was 4.3 percent. "As employers continue to fill their vacancies with qualified job seekers, we are encouraged to see many Georgians eager to return to the workforce," said Comm. Butler. "This dedication ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Many Citizens At Walker County Meeting Urge Commissioners To Work Out Differences With Chairman Shannon Whitfield

Many citizens attending a packed meeting of the Walker County Commission on Thursday night urged commissioners to work out their differences with Chairman Shannon Whitfield. A number of those who spoke at the lengthy session said they were concerned about the high cost of adding a county manager and the fact there might be expensive turnover in that position. The meeting did ... (click for more)

Tennessee Republican Party State Executive Committee To Hear Election Challenges, Including County Mayor, On Friday Night By Zoom

The Tennessee Republican Party State Executive Committee will hear two election challenges from Hamilton County, including one for the county mayor race, by Zoom on Friday night. Sabrena Smedley is challenging the county mayor contest on grounds of many cross-over votes by Democrats that she said helped Weston Wamp win. The Hamilton County Election Commission has certified ... (click for more)

Opinion

Howard Graduates Shined Despite Gang Interruption

I have had many career highlights, but none like the partnership that Lookout Mountain Conservancy has enjoyed with The Howard School for the past 10 years. I have gotten to know hundreds of the students, and I often walk away thinking how fantastic these students are, and yet, how misunderstood. May 20, 2022, is a great example. I attended The Howard School graduation at Finley ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Man And The Tree

During my Morning Readings one day last week I came across an essay that appeared in the Epoch Times on October 27, 2020 entitled ‘The Man’s Pledge.’ It is one of many stories from the newspaper’s readers to its “Dear Next Generation” where the idea is to plant … well, figuratively take a seed pod from an older tree and nurture a seedling that will grow into a new tree. The story ... (click for more)