With Congress and the White House currently concentrating their laser-like focus on averting (ornot averting, as the case may be) the fiscal cliff, the fate of various tax extenders is still very much up in the air, including the wind industry’s precious production tax credit (which covers about 30 percent of wind power’s costs — no wonder they’re so keen on keeping it around). The wind lobby is working overtime to convince Congress to pass an extension before the clock runs out on December 31st, but most lawmakers’ concerns are about the bigger fish we still need to fry before the end of the year.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Tuesday unveiled a “Plan B” approach to avoid most of the looming tax hikes, but it did not address the PTC or other so-called tax extenders. President Obama and Senate Democrats were quick to dismiss the offer.
Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio), who has been a leading negotiator over the fate of the PTC, acknowledged that it and other temporary tax provisions “take a back seat” to the broader debate over the cliff and that it would take “a deal on everything else” to see movement on extending the temporary credits.
Boehner’s proposal was seen as largely a messaging exercise, with the extenders still expected to be along for the ride if Congress and the White House can reach a broader deal on taxes and spending, lawmakers and lobbyists said.
“I suspect this is all for show,” one wind lobbyist said of Boehner’s proposal.
Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), who has been leading a public push for a PTC extension with near-daily floor speeches, said yesterday that there have been “a lot of quiet conversations” among senators over how to insert the credit into a broader fiscal cliff deal but that he was not at liberty to say more.
President Obama was much more vocal on the production tax credit and his other renewable-subsidizin’ ventures while on the campaign trail before the election (especially when hitting up states like Iowa), but I haven’t heard him throw much of his weight behind it lately — although of course, his administration is still very much actively for it