Fiscal Cliff Bill Includes More Than $12 BILLION in Tax Credits for Wind Industry
Before you start feeling all cozy about Congress steering away from the fiscal cliff, get ready for blood to shoot out of your eyes.Compared to the trillions tossed around this isn't a huge amount, but legislators took advantage of the time and budget crunch to slip $12.1 billion worth of tax credits for wind related industries into the bill.
The measure was a tax-extension package originally approved by the Senate Finance Committee in August 2012 but never implemented -- partly because the senate hasn't passed a budget since Obama took office. The proposal was violently opposed by the GOP and conservatives because the bill was supposed to be budget cuts, not subsidies for alternative energy programs.
A look at the pros and cons of the bill from Fox News:
The extension gives wind energy producers a 2.2-cent per kilowatt-hour credit over the next 10 years and will cost taxpayers the roughly $12.1 billion more over that period, according to Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation.
Ending the tax credits would have eliminated 37,000 U.S. jobs, and layoffs had already started as a result of the uncertainty, according to the American Wind Energy Association. The group also says nearly 500 wind farms or factories now operate across the country and employ roughly 75,000 workers.
Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander (R) lead opposition to the credits, saying less than 3 percent of the energy generated in the U.S. comes from wind energy despite having received billions of taxpayer dollars over the last two decades. He also said it was potentially harmful to the coal and nuclear industries with what he said was an "unfair advantage."