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How do tax credits help the public?

In a letter to the Las Vegas Review Journal (February 23, 2014), John Feehery defends Wind Protection Tax Credits on the grounds that the wind power industry attracts investment, creates jobs, stimulates economic development and saves consumers money on their power bills.

Let’s start with tax credits. They really are just tax breaks given to a specific sector or company. But government budgets depend on a total tax revenue figure. So giving one party a tax break means the lost revenue has to come from someplace else. That would be you and me.

Now as to saving consumers money on their power bills. My latest NV Energy bill includes one line for basic Electric Consumption. But the bottom line bill is 20 percent higher. That additional bump is accounted for under such ecofriendly terms as “Temporary Green Power Financing”, “Universal Energy Charge”, “Renewable Energy Program” and “Energy Efficiency Amortization.” So any benefits from wind power, or any other renewable energy source, seem to show up in higher bills rather than efficient and competitive power rates. Who pays for that? Well, that’s you and me again.

Finally, about creating jobs and stimulating economic development. Wouldn’t reducing energy bills let Nevadans keep more of their own money to do exactly that? Shouldn’t we expect the wind power industry to make it on their own, like a private sector company? And shouldn’t the main goal of NV Energy be to provide electric power at the lowest possible cost to consumers? You know, like when Government isn’t involved. Or like in a competitive market.

Robert R. Kessler

Las Vegas