Monday, September 29, 2008

More on Renewable Energy

With all the focus on the current economic crisis and who is to blame because of the obvious failure of congress to pass the wall street bailout or rescue plan, I am going to be different and mention another bill that our legislatures cannot seem to agree on which is bill HR6899. The Senate passed bill HR6899 by an overwhelming 93 to 2 vote which extends the investment tax credit for solar energy for eight years at a cost of 1.9 billion, the tax credit for residential solar property for eight years at a cost of 1.3 billion, extends the production tax credit for wind energy for one year, and the production tax credit for refined coal, biomass and marine renewable for another two years at a estimated cost of 5.8 billion dollars. These tax credits are scheduled to expire on December 31, 2008 if they are not extended by our elected officials. To pay for this bill, the Senate would freeze the tax deduction oil and gas companies receive for their domestic manufacturing operations at 6 percent, while other American manufacturers will see that deduction rise to 9 percent in 2010. That provision will raise $4.9 billion over 10 years. The bill would also raise another $2.2 billion by tightening the rules applying to oil and gas companies' taxes on income earned overseas. The bill would raise an additional $1.7 billion by increasing what producers must pay to the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund from 5 cents per barrel to 8 cents per barrel starting in 2009 and then 9 cents a barrel in 2017.

A statement from the white House has indicated that the Bush administration opposes the language that targets the oil and gas industry. "At a time when consumers are already struggling with the high price of gasoline and diesel fuel, Congress should not put additional upward pressure on fuel prices."

The House has approved a similar bill by a vote of 267 to 166 but it differes in key areas fron the Senate bill. The House bill is fully paid for, by limiting tax breaks given to the oil and gas industry and closing loopholes hedge fund managers and corporations use to lower taxes on overseas income. The Senate bill is only partially paid for by through limiting tax breaks for oil companines. As a result of the difference in the two bills, the Senate and the House must now reconcile the bills so that it can ultimately be signed by the President.

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