House passes tax credits bill, including BETC changes
By Erik Siemers, Business Journal staff writer
Business Journal staff writer
Rep. Jules Bailey, D - Portland, said the changes to the Business Energy Tax Credit and other programs, is "a place to build from."
The Oregon House of Representatives on Wednesday approved sweeping changes to the former Business Energy Tax Credit and a handful of other established tax breaks.
The bill, HB 3672A, reduces the cost of extending nine tax credit programs from $30 million to just $10 million for the next biennium. The measure, which passed by a 57-2 vote, is expected to move to the Senate on Thursday.
A joint House-Senate subcommittee was enlisted to review 20 tax credits that were set to sunset in 2012, the mid-point of the coming biennium.
Of those, seven were extended through 2018, including credits for biomass energy, film and video productions, and research and development credits. The residential energy tax credit was extended and modified. And the Business Energy Tax Credit was replaced and split into three separate credits: one for energy conservation, one for renewable energy production and a transportation credit.
Ten other credits were not extended and another was modified to sunset this year instead of next year.
The remaining tax credits must now share a total of $10 million for the final year of the biennium, which is a major blow to renewable energy advocates.
The Business Energy Tax Credit program — credited with creating Oregon’s thriving renewable energy leadership, but vilified for so-called “runaway” costs — was capped at $300 million for the biennium that ends this month and another $150 million for the first year of the next biennium.
But lawmakers, faced with significant budget restraints, say the new tax credit structure prevents runaway spending while preserving the framework of each program.
Though the programs may lack funding, State Rep. Jules Bailey, D-Portland, in a news release, said the bill represents “a place to build from.”
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