Why Congress Needs to Extend the Wind Energy Tax Credit
The wind energy industry and environmental groups are calling on Congress to renew the credit.
The wind energy production tax credit is a tougher issue than you might imagine for some good liberal wonks. On the one hand, wind power is great. On the other hand, tax credits are a market-distorting, inefficient way of making policy. They are basically spending disguised as tax cuts. Most tax credits that affect the environment — accelerated depreciation for the fossil fuel industry, the home mortgage interest deduction — incentivize sprawl, driving, and profligate dirty energy use. It is a rare, and tantalizing, point of agreement between good government advocates across party lines that we should throw out the whole system and operate a cleaner tax code.
So it might be tempting, when you see Tea Party–affiliated, Koch brothers–backed groups such as Americans for Prosperity pushing to eliminate the wind energy tax credit, to say, “Hey, I agree!” Tempting but wrong.
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