With the Republican takeover of Congress earlier this year, conservatives hoped we’d see an end to cronyism.
We hoped in vain.
It turns out Washington has proceeded as normal, carrying on with its usual tricks. The GOP-controlled Senate is working hard to revive the Export-Import Bank.
And the Senate wants to bring back a bunch of “green energy subsidies” that we thought we had dispensed with.
From the Daily Caller:
While most Republicans actually oppose many of these green energy subsidies, a few have embraced them as essential to their state’s economy. In fact, it was Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley who got wind and biofuel subsidies into the pending tax package. Grassley wrote the finance committee earlier this month, urging them to include wind subsidies in the tax extenders deal.
Grassley’s green subsidies would pay wind producers 2.3 cents per kilowatt hour over ten years for all the electricity they generate or allow wind farm operators to take a 30 percent investment tax credit instead of the power payments. Grassley also pushed for a $1.01 per gallon tax credit for cellulosic biofuel producers and a $1 credit for biodiesel makers.
Iow benefits from both wind energy and biofuel subsidies. The state ha the third largest installed wind power capacity in the country in 2012 and was the first state to get more than 20 percent of its power from wind. For biofuels, some 43 percent of the state’s corn crop goes towards ethanol production. Iowa also produces lots of biodiesel and biofuel fuels from ethanol.
Taken together, these subsidies would cost the government at least $13 billion in forgone revenue over ten years, according to finance committee estimates. The first wind tax subsidies were passed in 1992 with Grassley’s help.
It’s bad enough that we still have the Renewable Fuel Standard, a regulatory subsidy creating a market where none would otherwise exist for the ethanol industry. Now, Grassley wants to bring back direct, financial subsidies that would benefit Big Corn, and Big Wind. No doubt plenty of “conservative” presidential candidates will refuse to criticize this, just like they refuse to criticize the RFS, because OMG Iowa caucuses.
This is your “conservative” leadership in action, people.