Colorado’s congressional delegation sent a letter to House and Senate negotiators Tuesday urging them to include a federal production tax credit for wind power manufacturers in any compromise they craft that to extend the current payroll tax deduction for workers.
Extending the payroll tax cut was a political pingpong ball in Congress last fall as House Republicans and Senate Democrats battled over federal spending. Lawmakers have until Feb. 29 to pass legislation to extend it or run the risk – in an election year – of having the popular deduction lapse. It is worth about $1,000 a year in tax savings to the average working family.
The bipartisan committee of House and Senate lawmakers met again on Tuesday and into those negotiations, seven members of the Colorado delegation sent their request to also renew that the federal production tax credit for wind power manufacturers.
Vestas Wind Towers has said the company will lay off more than 1,000 employees if the federal credit isn’t quickly renewed. It gives a significant tax deduction for purchasing wind turbines and Vestas officials have said their sales will be sharply curtailed without it.
The Colorado delegation – except for Reps. Doug Lamborn and Mike Coffman – signed the appeal that was sent to the conference committee chairmen.
“Unless the wind PTC is renewed in the first quarter of this year, new wind energy development projects and the thousands of jobs associated with those projects are expected to drop off precipitously after 2012,” the letter said.
It was signed by Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet, as well as by Reps. Scott Tipton, Cory Gardner, Diana DeGette, Jared Polis and Ed Perlmutter.
“My top priority remains protecting jobs and encouraging the economic growth needed for businesses to get people back to work,” Tipton said in a statement afterward.
Vestas officials have lobbied the delegation to work the extension but the measure – like so many issues – was a victim of the political gridlock between Senate Democrats and House Republicans last year.
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