Absent action by Congress, the federal Wind Production Tax Credit will expire at the end of this year, but it could survive if included in other tax or omnibus spending legislation to be considered this fall. The tax credit amounts to a subsidy for well-connected government cronies to produce a product that cannot compete on price or reliability.
On Wednesday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hear testimony on the wind production tax credit.
“Congress should not renew the Wind Production Tax Credit for another year and thereby upset the planned phase-out that was passed just last year,” said Myron Ebell, Director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Center on Energy & Environment.
“The wind energy lobbyists spend more time seeking handouts than in trying to make their product competitive,” said Ebell. “The tax credit amounts to the worst kind of cronyism, costing taxpayers billions, foisting mandates on states and driving up electricity rates for consumers and manufacturers.”
CEI and two dozen other groups last month urged Congress to let the wind PTC expire, because, “[I]t doesn’t produce cheaper energy, it threatens electrical grid reliability, it’s inefficient, [and] it’s unprincipled tax policy.”
Those groups – including Americans for Prosperity, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, National Taxpayers Union, Taxpayers for Common Sense, and The Club for Growth – wrote in a letter to Congress: “Proposals to phase out the credit over time are a red herring. A phaseout is still an extension, and it does not address any of the problems that arise from government backing for wind energy. Besides, the PTC in its current form already has a phaseout built in: Wind farm projects may claim the tax credit for 10 years following receiving an investment letter.”
Christine Hall ([email protected]) is director of communications for the Competitive Enterprise Institute.