This Thursday (tomorrow August 2nd) the Senate Finance Committee is taking up a bill that extends the wind production tax credit, a handout for wind energy producers that distorts our energy markets. It’s long past time for Washington to stop using the tax code to manipulate our economy and our energy production.
Thankfully, one of Maine's senators, Olympia Snowe, sits on the Finance Committee and she will have a chance to vote on whether to extend this subsidy.
This subsidy is actually scheduled to expire at the end of the year. This time it’s easy for Congress to do the right thing: just do nothing, and these wasteful subsidies will expire as planned.
These types of energy subsides are poor policy. Just look at the subsidies for ethanol, which despite decades of preferential treatment is still not self-sustaining. Or look at the hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars wasted on green energy companies like Solyndra, Beacon Power and Ener1, all of which are now bankrupt.
The wind power industry itself said they only needed taxpayer support for a little while to help them get off the ground. That was 20 years ago, and we’re still providing a $5 billion special tax subsidy each year for an industry that supplies just over 2% of our power.
It’s time for this subsidy to end.