“As Congress examines ways to reduce tax rates and broaden the base, we must be willing to look at eliminating all tax subsidies for mature energy technologies.”
WASHINGTON, November 14, 2017 – U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today spoke on the Senate floor about tax reform, suggesting Congress should end the wind production tax credit at the end of the year.
“The wind production tax credit has been in place for twenty-five years and has been extended ten different times by Congress. To date, the wind production tax credit has already cost taxpayers billions, and Congress has recognized the need to end the wind production tax credit by passing legislation to phase out the credit by 2020, but we should do better,” Alexander said. “We have turned our attention to tax reform and our principle challenge is to find tax breaks and loopholes to eliminate so that we can lower rates for taxpayers – and I think that at the top of the list should be ending the wasteful and expensive subsidy for a clearly mature technology this year.”
Alexander continued: “For eight years – from 2008 to 2015 – the wind production tax credit cost taxpayers $9.6 billion – that’s more than one billion per year. According to the Congressional Research Service, the wind production tax credit is expected to cost taxpayers over $23 billion from 2016 to 2020.
“Despite the billions Congress has provided in subsidies, wind energy still only produces 6 percent of our country’s electricity and 17 percent of our country’s carbon-free electricity – and the wind only blows 35 percent of the time. On average, wind turbines are over two times as tall as the skyboxes at Neyland Stadium and taller than the Statue of Liberty. And the blades on windmills can be as long as a football field and their blinking lights can be seen for twenty miles.
“I also believe the conversation about energy subsidies and taxes is bigger than the wind production tax credit.
“As Congress examines ways to reduce tax rates and broaden the base, we must be willing to look at all tax subsidies for mature technologies. I’m here today to challenge my colleagues to be willing to consider all energy subsidies for mature technologies – wind, solar, oil and gas – as candidates for elimination in a tax reform bill. These dollars could be better spent to lower rates for taxpayers.”
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