Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., said Friday he expects Congress to renew and extend the federal wind power tax credit when the Senate and House give final approval to a transportation bill they are considering.
Speaking outside a workshop he was hosting for Pueblo-area businesses interested in overseas sales, Tipton said both Democratic and Republican lawmakers understand that Vestas Wind Technology and other wind-power manufacturers need the tax credit renewed as soon as possible or they face a slump in sales this year. The Vestas plant south of Pueblo employs 450 workers.
“I’m confident we will pass this but the fact is, Vestas is losing sales now because of the delay,” said Tipton, who represents Pueblo and the 3rd Congressional District.
Tipton expects the Senate to attach the wind power credit to the far-reaching federal transportation bill it is considering. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., has already introduced that amendment and a bipartisan group of senators, including Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., is petitioning the Senate leadership – Democratic leader Harry Reid and Republican leader Mitch McConnell – to support that addition to the transportation bill.
“I’m talking to the House leadership about it and I believe that when the transportation bill comes back from the Senate, there will be bipartisan agreement to leave the wind power credit in the final conference report,” Tipton said.
The tax credit costs the treasury about $3.5 billion a year. It is a credit granted to the owners of wind power turbines and was first established in 1992. President Barack Obama called on Congress to renew the tax credit in a speech in Miami on Thursday.
Friday’s workshop attracted about 50 people to the Pueblo County Conference Center. That included representatives of more than a dozen area businesses. Tipton had staff from the federal U.S. Commercial Service as well as Gov. John Hickenlooper’s Global Business Development office on hand to explain how they can help local businesses find customers overseas.
With that in mind, Tipton and Paul Bergman Jr., the regional director of the federal commercial service, gave the Transportation Technology Center, Inc., a Commerce Department award for being an international leader in railroad technology, security and testing. TTCI, located east of Pueblo, does business with several dozen foreign nations.
Bergman and Sandi Mollanen, of the Colorado export office, both emphasized that they can help local businesses identify countries and potential foreign customers – even providing grant funds for overseas trade or sales missions.
Bergman said the U.S. has been able to increase exports by 30 percent over the past two years. He said many Colorado companies, especially farmers and livestock growers, have overseas sales now.
Mollanen said the three largest foreign buyers of Colorado goods are Mexico, Japan and Canada.
Information on federal programs to assist business can be viewed on the Web at www.export.gov
The state Global Business Development office can be reached at www.colorado.gov and then link to the Office of Economic Development and International Trade.
Tipton is having a town meeting in Pueblo West today beginning at 10 a.m. at Pueblo West High School, 661 W. Capistrano Ave.
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