Romney opposition scuttles deal on extending wind power tax credit
Draft legislation to extend several expired and expiring tax programs does not include a high-profile credit for wind energy because GOP senators dropped support after Mitt Romney's campaign signaled that the presidential candidate wouldn't support an extension.
There was bipartisan agreement to extend the so-called production tax credit, said Senate Finance Committee spokeswoman Meaghan Smith - until Republican senators had to deal with the fallout of the Republican presidential hopeful coming out against the 2-cents-per-kilowatt-hour credit.
Romney's Iowa campaign spokesman told the Des Moines Register on July 30 that, as president, Romney would let the credit sunset "and create a level playing field on which all sources of energy can compete on their merits."
A number of senators from both sides of the aisle have pushed for Congress to extend the credit as soon as possible to avoid crippling the wind industry, which needs months of lead time to finance projects. Wind energy lobbyists have said that not extending the credit could lead to tens of thousands of jobs lost by the end of the year.
The issue is tricky for Romney politically, as the wind industry is a major employer in such swing states as Iowa and Colorado. In their "drill, baby, drill" campaign of 2008, House Republicans endorsed an energy platform that included making the production tax credit permanent.
Smith said an amendment to extend the tax credit may still be offered at the markup on Thursday or could be included in a modified chairman's mark.
Sen. Max Baucus, D.-Mont., "will continue to fight hard for the wind production tax credit," Smith said.