The big political question for the rest of the year will be the possible extension of the Bush-era tax cuts, but there are a few expiring Obama administration programs that also may fuel debate.
Well, more than a few. Republicans made budget-cutting their platform — and they won. Somehow the party has regained the advantage in this area ... that’s just how the election went. Budgets aren’t that different than elections — each has winners and losers — and I have a hunch anything with the “stimulus” label on it is a major loser.
This could be bad news for several green energy programs. A program providing tax credits for homeowners who make energy efficiency improvements to their homes expires on Dec. 31. Also set to expire at the end of the year is a tax credit for buying hybrid and alternative energy vehicles. If these programs expire, does that count as a cut?
There are other areas where renewable energy could lose out. Stimulus programs that have been slower to gain traction may be cut entirely. The 30 percent tax credit for homeowners purchasing alternative energy sources for their homes expires at the end of 2016. These programs cost more than $5 billion.
A Time magazine breakdown of the stimulus program
describes the Department of Energy as being converted into “the world’s largest venture capital fund.” In all, the report shows there is $90 billion at the agency’s disposal to invest in “clean energy, including unprecedented investments in a smart grid; energy efficiency; electric cars; renewable power from the sun, wind and earth; cleaner coal; advanced biofuels; and factories to manufacture green stuff in the United States.”
This is where the budget season can get as interesting — and as political — as election season. For congressmen who are for an “all of the above
” energy policy, as many of the new ones claim to be, how will they use the budget to promote all of the above-mentioned energy sources? More interestingly, many of these programs come in the form of tax credits. We hear a lot of support for keeping federal income tax levels the same, but what about tax credits for people who use less energy, cleaner energy or renewable domestic energy?
These are the great questions following the latest election. Many of the answers will come in February when President Obama submits his proposal for the budget to Congress.