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Pols wrangle on extending wind energy tax credit

A tax credit driving the wind industry seemed to be on its way when the Senate approved it overwhelmingly this week, but a measure to extend it hit a speed bump Thursday in the House. The fate of the wind energy production tax credit expiring Dec. 31 is uncertain as lawmakers wrangle over two versions of the latest bill including an extension. An industry advocate found lawmakers' arguments over paying for the legislation absurd in light of billions spent to shore up crumbling Wall Street titans and a $700 billion proposal to stave off economic collapse.

A tax credit driving the wind industry seemed to be on its way when the Senate approved it overwhelmingly this week, but a measure to extend it hit a speed bump Thursday in the House.

The fate of the wind energy production tax credit expiring Dec. 31 is uncertain as lawmakers wrangle over two versions of the latest bill including an extension.

An industry advocate found lawmakers' arguments over paying for the legislation absurd in light of billions spent to shore up crumbling Wall Street titans and a $700 billion proposal to stave off economic collapse.

"We're tired out here, throughout the region of Abilene of Wall Street getting all of our money and the Congress not having time for us," said Greg Wortham, executive director of the West Texas Wind Energy Consortium.

Lawmakers' dithering on renewing the tax credit has a chilling effect on the industry and makes investors reluctant, wind energy advocates said.

A House vote on bill was scuttled Thursday after lawmakers discovered two different versions of the legislation circulating. It is being reworked and is expected to come up for a vote again today. The Senate approved a one-year extension of... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

A tax credit driving the wind industry seemed to be on its way when the Senate approved it overwhelmingly this week, but a measure to extend it hit a speed bump Thursday in the House.

The fate of the wind energy production tax credit expiring Dec. 31 is uncertain as lawmakers wrangle over two versions of the latest bill including an extension.

An industry advocate found lawmakers' arguments over paying for the legislation absurd in light of billions spent to shore up crumbling Wall Street titans and a $700 billion proposal to stave off economic collapse.

"We're tired out here, throughout the region of Abilene of Wall Street getting all of our money and the Congress not having time for us," said Greg Wortham, executive director of the West Texas Wind Energy Consortium.

Lawmakers' dithering on renewing the tax credit has a chilling effect on the industry and makes investors reluctant, wind energy advocates said.

A House vote on bill was scuttled Thursday after lawmakers discovered two different versions of the legislation circulating. It is being reworked and is expected to come up for a vote again today. The Senate approved a one-year extension of the wind tax credit in a bill Tuesday with 93 votes in favor.

Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, and John Cornyn, R-Texas, voted for it.

Conflict has arisen over "pay-as-you-go-rules." The House version increases taxes elsewhere to completely offset tax breaks encouraging production of renewable energy. The Senate version does not.

The Senate bill also wraps together several tax measures, including a patch for the alternative minimum income tax that will keep millions from having to pay it.

The three Republicans making up the West Texas delegation are supportive of extending the wind energy production tax credit, but they've found it more than once in legislation they couldn't stomach.

Rep. Mike Conaway, San Angelo's congressman, said that if the House bill's overall concept is permanent tax increases for a temporary fix, he will continue to be against that concept.

This time around, representatives Randy Neugebauer and Mac Thornberry have taken a liking to the Senate version of the legislation.

"At this time, congressman Neugebauer supports the Senate tax legislation and will continue to support extension of the wind energy production tax credits, which are crucial to the development of renewable energy in the 19th District," Michelle Richmond, spokeswoman for the 19th Congressional District representative, said in an e-mail.

Thornberry of the 13th Congressional District said he thinks the Senate hopes the House will approve the Senate version. Senators aren't sure they can get the bill through again before adjournment, he said.

Wortham, also mayor of Sweetwater, said it's absurd to discuss a pay-as-you-go rule when taxpayer dollars have poured into Wall Street.

"Wall Street seems to have found an avenue to get how ever many trillion they want," he said. "But there's not any money for the Great Plains, Middle America, Texas, because they have a rule."


Source: http://gosanangelo.com/news...

SEP 26 2008
http://www.windaction.org/posts/17239-pols-wrangle-on-extending-wind-energy-tax-credit
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