Democrats’ tax bill offers breaks for wind, solar, EVs

Source: BY Geof Koss, E&E News reporter • Posted: Thursday, November 14, 2019

Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee are finalizing a comprehensive green energy tax bill that would overhaul key tax breaks for electric vehicles, wind, solar and other renewables, panel members said.

The measure, dubbed the “Green Act,” would fulfill a pledge made by Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) in June, when he promised to produce a broad energy tax bill before the end of the year.

He made that pledge to help ease passage of an extenders package that was largely limited to an assortment of expired or soon-to-be expired energy breaks (E&E Daily, June 21).

Neal told reporters this morning that the upcoming bill will be “pretty all-encompassing” after he briefed Democrats on the tax-writing panel about the measure.

Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) said the package will include legislation, H.R. 2256, he authored that would increase the current 200,000-vehicle-per-manufacturer cap on electric vehicles sales to 600,000, with the credit reduced from the current amount of $7,500 to $7,000.

“The whole notion is that over time, it’s going to take less to incentivize,” Kildee told reporters. “But that kind of scale gets, I think, confidence in the market that allows manufacturers to make the capital investment to really go big, to go to scale.”

Kildee indicated the measure will also extend the renewable production tax credit and investment tax credits, which are scheduled to phase down under a 2015 tax law.

“It’s a pretty comprehensive green energy package around production credits,” he said, although he was unsure how long those breaks would be extended for.

Neal confirmed that the package — text of which could emerge as soon as next week — would address EVs, as well as wind and solar breaks. “It’s pretty carefully integrated,” he said.

Additional details of the bill were unavailable, but it follows a letter signed by 166 House Democrats last month calling for EV and other renewable breaks to be extended before the end of the year (Greenwire, Oct. 30).

However, Neal and other committee members were noncommittal about marking up the bill anytime soon — or the prospects of attaching it to another legislative vehicle.

“We’ll figure that out,” Neal said.

The forthcoming bill comes as House and Senate talks continue on extending the lapsed breaks, which include efficiency and biofuel incentives.

Neal today suggested elements of the forthcoming bill could be folded into those talks but said he wanted to lay down a legislative marker.

“We’ll approach it based on the negotiation, but I do think that there’s an opportunity here to end up combining some elements,” he said. “But for the most part, I also want something free-standing to discuss.”

Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) said the package responds to the flurry of outside pressure in recent months for legislating on energy taxes.

“There’s a lot of pent-up demand to try to get something out there, at least for public consumption, so we can tee this up,” he told reporters. “I don’t know if it will happen before the end of the year. And I think we’re going to want to have a hearing on it, as well, and get more feedback.”