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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Equal treatment for wind power
The call for an end to all energy subsidies from Rep. Mike Pompeo, Kansas Republican, and Rep. Raul R. Labrador, Idaho Republican, could be a laudable goal if it treated all energy resources fairly and treated energy fairly relative to other sectors ("Era of energy subsidies is over," Commentary, Monday). Unfortunately, their proposed legislation doesn't work that way. It unfairly singles out the most promising source of new manufacturing jobs while protecting billions of dollars in incentives for other energy sources and all non-energy sectors. Honest reform of tax incentives must start with a level playing field. The Pompeo/Ladrador proposal fails to do that.
At this critical time for our nation's economy, we should not be contemplating a tax increase on an emerging energy industry that is growing new manufacturing jobs. Wind is proving itself as a commercial energy source, having accounted for more than a third of all of the new electric generating capacity installed in the past four years. Its incentive, a tax credit, has leveraged an average of $17 billion a year in private investment over the last four years.
Wind power has become one of the fastest-growing U.S. manufacturing sectors. Since 2005, domestic production of wind turbine components has grown twelvefold, and now includes more than 400 facilities in 43 states, "insourcing" manufacturing jobs from overseas back to the United States. At the same time, wind power helps hard-pressed rural economies. Farmers and ranchers are paid up to $120,000 over 20 years for each turbine their property hosts, and rural counties are seeing new property-tax revenues to help balance their budgets.
Taxpayers will lose their investment in creating this new industry if we tax it out of existence. I hope Mr. Pompeo and Mr. Labrador can join the bipartisan effort - including 23 Republican and Democratic governors and such business-friendly groups as the National Association of Manufacturers and Edison Electric Institute - in supporting an extension to the Production Tax Credit for wind.
Chief executive officer
American Wind Energy Association
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