Thursday, September 18, 2008

Bipartisan Senate Agreement On Clean Energy Tax Incentives

Sep 16: Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-IA) announced an agreement with the Senate’s Democratic and Republican leadership to move legislation accomplishing the Finance panel’s remaining major objectives for the year: passage of clean energy tax incentives, the protection of millions of Americans from the alternative minimum tax (AMT), and extensions of expiring family and business tax cuts. Last week, Baucus and Grassley unveiled a $40 billion package of clean energy tax incentives for Senate consideration this month. The Finance leaders combined key objectives of that legislation with an agreement to update alternative minimum tax rules and continue tax cuts for college tuition, state and local sales taxes, and research and development for U.S. businesses.

Senators will be debating the amendments on the Senate Floor to replace the current text of H.R. 6049 (Energy and Tax Extenders Act of 2008), energy tax legislation approved in the House of Representatives earlier this year and which failed to obtain the 60 votes necessary in the Senate on June 17 [
See WIMS 6/18/08]. Along with other non-energy related elements, the bipartisan agreement includes clean energy tax incentives totaling approximately $17 billion, paid for by freezing the tax deduction for the domestic manufacturing activities of American oil and gas companies, by tightening the rules by which oil and gas companies pay taxes on income earned overseas, by freeing general fund monies with increased payments into the oil spill liability trust fund as new drilling is considered, by a one-year extension of the Federal Unemployment Tax Act surtax at the current level, and by increasing reporting requirements for brokers on sales of stock.

Senator Baucus said, “This month, the Senate can act to create jobs, break America’s dependence on foreign oil, support working families and help businesses thrive.This agreement will lead America toward clean, homegrown energy and the good-paying jobs that come with it. . . The Senate and the House should take up the elements of this agreement and pass them without delay. Americans are ready now for good-paying jobs, tax relief, economic growth, and a brighter energy future.” Senator Grassley said, “This legislation will be a huge shot in the arm to the economy, and the timing couldn’t be better. . . This package is a major victory and was worth fighting for in Congress because these provisions have proven their value. . ."

Access a release from the Senate Finance Committee (click here). Access a 7-page Senate Finance Committee staff summary of the Energy and Tax Extenders Act of 2008 (click here). Access an 18-page Staff Summary of the Senate Finance Committee Summary Amendment to the Substitute Amendment to H.R. 6049 (click here). Access legislative details for H.R. 6049 (click here). Access current Senate Floor activity (click here). [*Energy]