Finance Committee Holds Hearing on Reforming Energy Tax Code
Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today questioned witnesses at a Senate Finance Committee hearing on reforming the energy tax code about how tax policy can support the country’s diverse energy industry. In the absence of comprehensive energy tax reform, Bennet urged Congress to move quickly to pass a bipartisan tax extenders bill that includes a two-year extension of the wind production tax credit (PTC) and the investment tax credit (ITC) he helped secure in the bill.
“If we’re going to create a 21st-century energy policy for our country, we need a tax code that supports the innovators in our economy rather than one that benefits the status quo,” Bennet said.
“In Colorado, we have a diverse energy industry from wind and solar to natural gas. Unfortunately, the tax code doesn’t support these different technologies equally,” Bennet added. “Instead, we find ourselves in the position of having to extend tax incentives on a yearly basis for some while others enjoy permanent benefits that were established years ago. It’s time to reform these outdated tax provisions and create a system that will help lead us to energy independence. And until we do, we need Congress to quickly pass the tax extenders bill to provide certainty for Colorado’s and the country’s wind industry.”
Bennet worked with Republican Senator Charles Grassley from Iowa and Washington Democrat Maria Cantwell to secure the wind PTC amendment in the tax extenders bill in committee earlier this year.
Bennet has led efforts in Congress to extend the wind energy PTC. In 2012, he led eight of the nine members of the Colorado Congressional delegation in a bipartisan letter calling for an extension of the tax credit and introduced two bipartisan amendments with Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS), and cosponsored by Senator Mark Udall, to extend the PTC. He also partnered with Senators Grassley and Udall that year to introduce the American Energy and Job Promotion Act, a bipartisan bill to extend the PTC for wind and several other renewable energy technologies. Bennet successfully led a bipartisan group of senators urging the Senate Finance Committee to include an extension of the PTC in the 2012 tax extenders bill the committee considered.
Colorado generates the sixth highest percentage of power from wind of any state in the nation. It is home to several major wind energy developers and wind turbine manufacturing facilities, employing upwards of 5,000 workers statewide. Nationally, a permanent expiration of the wind production tax credit could cost as many as 37,000 jobs, according to the American Wind Energy Association.
Bennet is also the sponsor of a bipartisan bill to put liquefied natural gas (LNG) on equal footing with diesel fuel under the federal highway excise tax. The amendment, based on his bipartisan bill he introduced with Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), would allow LNG to compete fairly with diesel by taxing LNG on energy output rather than per gallon.