Representative Matt Wingard: Bill to stop tax giveaways

By State Representative Matt Wingard,

SALEM””Rep. Matt Wingard (R-Wilsonville) today supported House Bill 3680 to reform and reduce the costs of the state’s Business Energy Tax Credit. Last month, he warned his colleagues that the state had authorized $336 million in 2009 “pre-certified” tax giveaways under the program. According to the Legislative Revenue Office, it turns out the real number of pre-certified credits was $1.66 billion.
“This bill should have been approved before Oregonians were asked to pass income and corporate tax increases,” Rep. Wingard said. “The BETC program has directed hundreds of millions of dollars away from critical programs and services. While this bill is better late than never, taxpayers will be on the hook to pay for these tax credits for years to come.”

HB 3680 imposes a $300 million cap per biennium on pre-certified programs, extends the existing 5-year credit to a 6-year credit for renewable projects that cost more than $10 million, and gradually reduces credits for larger wind projects. The bill is expected to save taxpayers $150 million over the next three years.

“At the same time our state was having a protracted battle over $733 million in tax increases, the state was actively pre-certifying $1.166 billion dollars in BETC tax credits for the 2009-11 biennium,” Rep. Wingard said. “I’m disappointed this program was allowed to spiral out of control while our legislative leadership threatened deep cuts to schools and public safety.”

“With state revenues continuing to decline, we must remember that the costs of this program, according to The Oregonian, will still increase by over $630 million this biennium.”

HB 3680 now moves to the Senate.