Honesty is in short supply among the wind critics. As an example, consider these opening lines from an IER (Institute for Energy Research) post: “Big cash giveaway to big wind” which is followed by, “IRS boosts value of production tax credit, costing taxpayers $500 million.” These are just not true and what follows are half truths and lies.
What the Internal Revenue Service really did was increase the value of the wind Production Tax Credit from $0.022/kWh to $0.023/kWh, a change that the IER says increases the “taxpayer cost by more than $500 million for projects placed under construction by the end of 2013.”
What the increase really means is that wind-farm owners, private companies mind you, get to reduce their income tax by 2.3¢ for every kilowatt-hour they produce. No money leaves the U.S. treasury. A tax credit is not a government payout. It is not a grant. A tax credit means private companies gets to keep more of the profits they earn. What’s wrong with that?
Homeowners also get a federal tax credit for the interest they pay on the principle of their home loan. Like the PTC, it costs taxpayers – homeowners like you and me – nothing. It is honestly earned money not going to the federal government. Nothing wrong with that either.
We should applaud tax credits because they reward action and positive outcomes. We should, however, get rid of grants and federal giveaways that have shown no useful results.
The article’s author, IER Senior VP Daniel Kish, also sloppily uses the term “subsidy” to describe the tax credit. Wrong again. A subsidy is a check that comes usually from a government to an organization or individual. Welfare is a subsidy. Medicare is a subsidy. A subsidy is not a tax credit. Many industries get tax credits for a variety of reasons. To condemn one is to condemn them all.
Kish goes on: “… now they (the wind industry) have the IRS forcing taxpayers to pay even more to prop up energy they can’t use and don’t need.” This is absurd, the ideas of forcing taxpayers to do anything, and that Americans cannot use wind generated electrical power, and they don’t need it. Mr. Kish should try to see what electrical energy does for these United States. We cannot live the way we do without it.
Later he says, “…the federal government is increasing the taxpayer-funded giveaways to special interests…” Mr. Kish, please stop lying. There is no giveaway. It’s a tax credit. And special interest? Part of the electrical generating capacity for the U.S. is a special interest? Are hydroelectric dam operators a special interest? Is nuclear power a special interest? Are utilities a special interest?
This much is true: Every turbine that goes up in the U.S. is another step closer to our energy independence, and cleaner air.
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