New tax bill includes wind energy credit

Getty Images

Senate Finance Committee leaders unveiled a new draft of a bill to extend tax breaks Thursday mornings, a version that includes the renewable energy production tax credit (PTC) that benefits the wind energy industry.

The PTC was included in the new “chairman’s mark” that Sen. Ron WydenRon WydenCanada expresses willingness to finish softwood lumber deal Dem pushes Treasury for info on Syria sanctions The holy grail of tax policy MORE (D-Ore.), the panel’s chairman, and Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin HatchThe holy grail of tax policy GOP lawmakers ask IRS to explain M wasted on unusable email system GOP senators avoid Trump questions on rigged election MORE (Utah), its top Republican, introduced for markup Thursday morning. It was not in the first draft announced Tuesday.

The credit was included thanks to an amendment introduced by Sens. Michael BennetMichael BennetCruz: Precedent exists for keeping Supreme Court short-staffed Senate poll raises Republican hopes in Pennsylvania, Florida Podesta floated Bill Gates, Bloomberg as possible Clinton VPs MORE (D-Colo.), Charles GrassleyChuck GrassleyCruz: Precedent exists for keeping Supreme Court short-staffed Sanders to Justice Department: Block AT&T purchase of Time Warner Freeing the False Claims Act MORE (R-Iowa) and Maria CantwellMaria CantwellThe most important question in 2017: how do we get to yes? US wins aerospace subsidies trade case over the EU Wells CEO Stumpf resigns from Fed advisory panel MORE (D-Wash.). It would extend the PTC for two years, the same period as most of the credits in the legislation.

“The wind PTC is an economic engine in Colorado that supports thousands of jobs in our state and tens of thousands more across the country,” Bennet said in a statement. “This extension will boost Colorado’s diverse energy industry and help us remain competitive in the global and changing economy.”

The Thursday morning proposal included a total of seven tax breaks out of the 50 that the Tuesday measure excluded. All of the tax provisions expired last year.

Wyden has supported the PTC in the past. In opening Thursday’s markup, he said that although he wants to enact a comprehensive tax reform package and stop temporarily renewing tax breaks, he recognized the need to renew tax breaks in the mean time.

If Congress did not renew the provisions, “clean energy would take a blow, threatening good American jobs and our ability to compete on technology with countries like China and Japan,” Wyden said, listing a variety of other consequences.

The Finance Committee was scheduled Thursday to consider dozens of amendments to the bill before voting on it.