by Christine Harbin Hanson
Opposition to handouts for wind energy is growing at the grassroots level, and it appears that lawmakers on Capitol Hill are beginning to take note. Congressman Mike Pompeo recently released a “Dear Colleague letter” with the signatures of over 50 of his House Colleagues, calling on Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader McCarthy to reject efforts to extend expired tax incentives for wind energy.
“We offer our full support of the current process undertaken by the House Committee on Ways and Means that will allow the most anti-competitive and economically harmful tax provisions, specifically the wind energy production tax credit (PTC), to expire,” this year’s letter reads.
Americans for Prosperity applauds Congressman Pompeo and the 54 lawmakers who signed his Dear Colleague letter for going on the record in opposing carve outs for the wind energy industry. They have it exactly right on energy policy: Government shouldn’t be picking winners and losers in the energy industry. Taxpayers deserve energy solutions that can make it on their own in the marketplace, not ones that need government to prop them up.
The main carve out for Big Wind, the PTC, expired at the end of 2013. Despite being around for over 2 decades, this tax credit has failed to turn the wind energy industry into a thriving industry and it costs taxpayers $13 billion per year. Even though the tax credit is expired, current beneficiaries can claim the tax credit for up to ten years. Also, as of late last Friday, the IRS expanded the definition of eligibility, meaning that even more wind farms can collect the tax credit without any action from Congress.
Congressman Pompeo’s letter recognizes Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp “for his leadership on this important issue.” AFP, too, has consistently called on Chairman Camp to oppose extending expired tax incentives for wind, and we applaud him for taking a slow and deliberate approach to tax extender legislation.
This is a welcome contrast from the Senate’s earlier actions on tax extender legislation. Despite calls from Senators Flake and Alexander to let this “zombie” tax credit expire once and for all, the Senate passed its version of the tax extender package intact. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid blocked any amendments that would eliminate or wind down the PTC from seeing votes on floor.
Congress should follow Congressman Pompeo’s leadership in standing up against special interests in the wind energy industry. Senators and Representatives should let expired wind tax incentives stay expired. Read the whole letter to House leadership here: