House Democrats Going Big in Green New Deal Corporate Giveaways | Citizens Against Government Waste
The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

House Democrats Going Big in Green New Deal Corporate Giveaways

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact blog@cagw.org.


Opportunistic lobbyists who have jumped on the Green New Deal bandwagon and environmental activists have been pressuring House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) to start negotiations on a new “green” tax package of giveaways that would extend and expand industry-specific carveouts for solar, wind, and geothermal energy producers as well as for electric vehicles (EV).

The solar energy industry has lobbied for an extension of the solar investment tax credit, which begins phasing out at the end of this year.  Current law provides a 30 percent tax credit for both residential and commercial solar production. Other groups, particularly the wind industry, are pushing to expand this tax credit as well as extend it, to better benefit energy storage and net metering.

Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) has introduced legislation (H.R. 2096) for the wind energy industry that would extend subsidies to energy storage systems. Currently, energy storage only qualifies for tax subsidies when paired with a solar project.  In plain English, this bill aims to allow battery makers and companies who create other electric storage systems to qualify for subsidies currently only given to the solar industry.

Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) has introduced a bill (H.R. 2256) aimed at expanding tax benefits that encourage electric car manufacturing and purchases.  Kildee’s proposal would expand the existing $7,500 EV tax credit, which allows car buyers to bill the taxpayers for part of the cost of their electric car.  Currently, EV car subsidies phase out over 15 months once an automaker hits 200,000 cumulative EV sales.  H.R. 2256 would grant each automaker a $7,000 tax credit for an additional 400,000 vehicles in addition to the existing 200,000 vehicles eligible for $7,500 tax credits.

Chairman Neal’s Ways and Means Committee staff are likely to start negotiations in the coming weeks on their energy tax package.  While the package is negotiated, it’s important to know which “green energy” interest groups would benefit from the passage of long-term tax subsidies.  These interest groups—and the lobbyists that work for them—must be scrutinized and made to justify themselves to the taxpayers. Once these tax credits are created or expanded, it becomes almost impossible to end them.

As CAGW President Tom Schatz noted in his December 16, 2015 commentary in The Washington Times, “there are few things in Washington that last longer than a temporary tax credit or subsidy.  They are renewed rather than retired…”  

It’s the easiest thing in the world to spend other people’s money. Reps. Neal, Doyle, Kildee, and the rest should have to explain to the public why they keep allowing lobbyists (hiding behind environmental activists) to pressure them into throwing the taxpayer’s money down the trash chute.

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