State lawmakers are expected to put new restrictions on a business energy tax credit (BETC) in Oregon when they meet for a special session in February, reports The Bulletin.
The tax credit, which encourages investment in alternative energy, recycling and energy conservation, is estimated to cost the state $168 million over the next two years, which is about $100 million more than it cost the state in the last two-year budget cycle, according to The Bulletin.
Earlier this year, lawmakers tried to cut about $20 million from the tax credit by limiting the benefit provided to large wind-power projects, but it was vetoed by Gov. Ted Kulongoski, reports The Bulletin.
Kulongoski believes that the tax credits have helped make Oregon a center for renewable energy, and he wants the state to continue supporting the industry until it can stand on its own, reports the Oregonian.
Some lawmakers and wind power stakeholders believe the elimination of the BETC program or cutbacks will hurt central Oregon, in particular, because renewable energy has made a lot of gains in the region, reports The Bulletin.
Despite his opposition to cutting the program, Kulongoski recently told the Oregon Department of Energy to tighten its rules on the program.
The Senate Revenue Committee chairwoman, Sen. Ginny Burdick, D-Portland, told The Bulletin that the program will be targeted for more dramatic reductions if voters reject the personal and income tax hikes that are expected to be on a January ballot.
Burdick and others said wind power in particular has become profitable enough that companies don’t need state financial help, reports the Oregonian.