Fate of wind power tax still unknown

Source: PETE ROPER • The Pueblo Chieftain • Posted: Wednesday, February 15, 2012

With the clock winding down, House and Senate negotiators still were working Tuesday at drafting legislation to extend the 2 percent cut in federal payroll taxes for the rest of the year.

What wasn’t known was whether that legislation also would include extending the federal Production Tax Credit that companies such as Vestas-American Wind Technology want to help recruit new customers for its wind tower turbines.

Colorado’s congressional delegation has been lobbying the House and Senate conferees to extend the wind power tax credit as part of any final legislation, but it was unknown Tuesday afternoon whether that was happening.

Senate Democrats want the committee to approve about $20 billion in business tax credits and cuts, including the wind power tax credit.

House Republicans had been balking at approving any additional tax credits without Democrats agreeing to matching cuts in federal spending.

Staffers for Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., said it’s unknown what the status of the wind power tax credit was as the conference committee negotiations continued Tuesday. The credit would cost the federal treasury about $4 billion a year in revenue.

The political gridlock in the committee appeared to be breaking up Tuesday when the House GOP leadership announced it would agree to have the payroll tax deduction legislation move through the House without requiring a matching $100 billion cut in spending to defray the cost.

One staffer for a Colorado senator complained Tuesday afternoon that only the conference committee members knew what was occurring in the closed-door negotiations.

The payroll tax deduction, which is worth about $1,000 a year in taxes to a worker with a $50,000 salary, is scheduled to expire Feb. 29 unless Congress extends it.