As lawmakers wrestle over a bailout for Wall Street, some renewable energy producers on Main Street are wondering if they’ll at least get an extension of some valuable tax credits.
This story from Agriculture Online quotes Senator Chuck Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, as saying that if Congress adjourns without passing a tax relief bill, it would be a catastrophe because of how reliant wind and biodiesl are on their tax breaks:
The tax bill, which also would prevent more Americans from being caught by the Alternative Minimum Tax when they file next April, contained several alternative energy tax breaks championed by Grassley. It extended a tax credit for wind energy through 2009, as well as a $1-per-gallon tax credit for biodiesel.
The House on Monday refused to take up the legislation, partly because conservative Blue Dog Democrats refused to support it unless more of the tax breaks were offset by spending cuts.
Grassley said he wasn’t certain what the effect of not extending alternative energy tax credits beyond the end of this year would be. In 2004, a similar delay in extending the tax credits for wind shut down that industry for six months, he said, adding that he believes the industry is stronger today.
Grassley says he doesn’t think Congressmen will want to go home and face constituents who would now have to pay the Alternative Minimum Tax. About 23 million people would have to pay the AMT… as much as an extra $2,000 in the tax bills for those who make less than $200,000.