American workers and the U.S. economy were well represented this week as a broad coalition of more than 2,000 organizations, representing millions of individuals, employees, businesses, community development, and non-profit groups, called on Congress this week to pass a multi-year extension of expired, and expiring, federal tax provisions.
Groups ranging from American Apparel and the American Heart Association to McDonald’s and Macy’s sent a letter this week to Members of Congress to “act immediately on a seamless, multi-year or permanent extension” of tax provisions that are “critically important to U.S. jobs and the broader economy.”
The letter reads, “Failure to extend these provisions is a tax increase. It will inject instability and uncertainty into the economy and weaken confidence in the employment marketplace. Acting promptly on this matter will provide important predictability necessary for economic growth.”
The renewable energy Production Tax Credit (PTC) is the primary performance-based federal incentive that helps to grow U.S. wind farms. It is a big reason why they are most productive in the world with enough wind energy produced annually for 18 million American homes. The PTC is just one of the tax provisions the Broad Tax Extenders Coalition is calling on Congress to extend.
With the PTC in place, American wind power has created a brand new domestic manufacturing sector with nearly 20,000 workers at over 500 factories in 43 states building and supplying parts and supplies for U.S. wind farms. Overall, the U.S. wind energy industry supports 73,000 well-paying jobs and growing new wind farms has boosted local economies and injected millions of dollars of added tax revenue to surrounding communities, helping to upgrade critical infrastructure such as roads, schools, and emergency services.
An extenders bill, including the PTC, was passed in December 2014, just two weeks before expiring again at the end the year. This continued uncertainty is taking a toll on American workers. Dokka Fasteners Inc. announced the closing of its Michigan manufacturing plant two weeks ago due to the “lack of committed U.S. renewable energy policy and gridlock of government in Washington.”
Dokka Fasteners said in its Aug. 28 release: “The decision to close Dokka Fasteners in Auburn Hills, MI was difficult after just committing to build the state-of-the-art facility in 2010. Although the plant start-up went well, the business was subject to uncertainty do to the state of the wind industry in the United States. The landscape for wind energy is volatile based on a lack of a committed US renewable energy policy, gridlock of government in Washington, and the uncertainty of the production tax credit (PTC).”
Without an extension of the Production Tax Credit and Investment Tax Credit, the U.S. risks pushing the U.S. wind energy industry off another cliff, similar to what happened in 2013 when $23 billion dollars in private investment and 30,000 jobs were lost.
Extending the PTC would not just help keep American workers employed but also help continue to lower the costs of wind energy. The U.S. Department of Energy issued a report earlier this year showing the cost of wind power has dropped by 66% in just the last six years. That’s helped save money for consumers and extending the tax inventive would help wind power bring more of its low-cost benefits to all corners of the country.
You can read a full list of the 2,000 groups, businesses and organizations that make up the Broad Tax Extenders Coalition, including the American Wind Energy Association, here: http://bit.ly/1OGn2ni