The “omnibus” spending bill about to pass Congress is glittering like a Christmas Tree with numerous tax credits, subsidies, and other benefits for President Barack Obama’s luxury energy agenda. The spending will benefit the renewable energy investments of a club of billionaires at the expense of middle class taxpayers and energy consumers. As has generally been the case, Congress can’t just simply pass a responsible budget that is fiscally prudent and funds only the essential functions of government, they have to pass budget and spending bills that end up loaded excessively with pork barrel spending and corporate welfare for all.
The legislation extends the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for wind and solar projects for another five years at the 30 percent rate and gives very generous phaseouts. The summary from the Ways and Means Committee lists numerous provisions of tax credits and benefits for renewable energy.
Section 181 extends through 2016, the credit for purchases of non-business energy property, at a rate of 10 percent to be paid by the taxpayer for qualified energy improvements up to $500. Tax credits for alternative fuel refueling property are extended, at the rate of 30 percent, until 2016 in Section 182. Likewise, section 183 extends tax credits for 2-wheeled plug-in electric vehicles, at the rate of 10 percent, until 2106, capped at $2500.
The extension of tax credits for second generation bio-fuel production through 2016, for cellulosic bio-fuels producers, is included in Section 184. Additionally, in Section 189, are tax credits for second generation bio-fuel plant property, extended through 2016 at the 50 percent bonus depreciation for cellulosic bio-fuel facilities.
Section 192 extends excise tax credits for alternative fuels, going through 2016 for 50 cents per gallon for the alternative fuel tax credit and alternative fuel mixture tax credit. The extension of a tax credit for new qualified fuel cell motor vehicles is contained in Section 193, extending through 2016 a credit for new qualified fuel cell motors that will be between $4,000 to $40,000 per vehicle depending on the weight of the vehicle purchased.
All of this subsidy via tax credits is included in the government funding bill that Congress is set to pass and likely to be enacted into law. Middle class American taxpayers will pay the bill for all this corporate welfare that will almost entirely benefit the billionaire renewable energy investors who have donated so generously as fund-raisers and bundlers for the 2008 election and the 2012 reelection of President Obama.
Republicans in Congress ran on an agenda of fiscal responsibility and promised to cut out the waste, fraud, and abuse in the federal budget. It’s about time that this Republican majority in Congress do what they promised the voters in the last election. They can make a good start on delivering on their promises to voters by eliminating all these expensive and ineffective tax credits for renewable energy from the federal spending bill. The American people are watching, and will see if their representatives in Congress represent them, or instead continue to keep the largesse flowing from the pockets of the people to their billionaire friends.