in Houston, Texas
Texas wind power companies reap tax breaks from fiscal cliff deal
Thursday, Jan 03, 2013, 01:29PM CST
By Mark Lisheron
wind farm

Look! Up there! Just off the precipice of the terrifying fiscal cliff! It’s a taxpayer built and outfitted Deltaplane carrying the Texas wind power industry to safety.

And lined up behind it on the cliff are hang gliders for such deserving and needy industries as Puerto Rican rum producers, electric scooters, Coca Cola and Hollywood.

Congress is launching this flying armada under the cover of whatever unspeakable horrors might have been visited upon Americans had it not bravely stepped in at the very last minute to protect random and profligate spending, the Washington Post reports today.

Among the leaders in this glorious formation are companies that will receive a tax credit valued at about $12 billion for beginning construction of wind farms sometime in 2013. Texas, the leading wind power-producing state in the nation, will be the chief beneficiary of the 2.2 cents-a-kilowatt-hour of projected energy production tax credit, Bloomberg is reporting.

As Texas Watchdog has reported, the entire wind power industry in Texas had for months been cowering in fear that Congress would not extend a tax credit that has been crucial to its life support for 20 years.

Just how crucial? Bloomberg says the tax credit uncertainty alone caused projections of putting wind turbines online in 2013 to drop to 4,800 megawatts of power from 11,800 megawatts estimated in 2012.

With its ability to embed sleeper cells of questionable taxpayer spending well established in bills like the stimulus and Obamacare, Congress set out to keep a $14 billion tax credit for research and development and $11 billion for financial services companies to shelter income earned overseas from certain financial transactions, the Post says.

Compared to those, what is $222 million to help prop up the rum industry in American territories? Or $78 million to help auto racing better compete with amusement parks for your hard-earned dollar? The $7 million for the Oregon scooter makers is almost nothing.

Steve Ellis, vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, disagreed, preferring to keep his fiscal cliff rescue metaphor grounded.

“These are like the cockroaches of the policy world,” Ellis told the Post.  “You think they’re dead, and then they come back.”

Contact Mark Lisheron at 512-299-2318 or or on Twitter at @marktxwatchdog.

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Photo of wind turbines by flickr user the russians are here, used via a Creative Commons license.

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