12-22-13 – Welch and renewable credits

by John McClaughry

Congressman Peter Welch was on the news last Tuesday evening announcing his legislation to continue the Federal tax credit for renewable energy devices, which is slated to expire the end of this year.

The program now gives any taxpayer a $300 credit for installing things like a heat pump in their homes. Welch wants it continued and increased to $500.

Welch was flanked by Green Mountain Power CEO Mary Powell, who says the credit would get more homeowners to “go green”.

Welch said “For some folks, that extra $200 will make the difference in them deciding if they want to put a significant amount of their own money into it.”

A heat pump owner said on camera that the device saved him “thousands of dollars on fuel every year.”  Very nice!

Now, did it ever occur to Welch and Powell that people who can save thousands of dollars a year on heating bills with a heat pump could afford to buy the heat pump themselves – without calling on the taxpayers to supply $500 toward their heat pump?

Worse yet, Peter Welch is a leader in championing the needs of the poor– but this credit inevitably goes to higher income homeowners with the knowhow and capital to put in their own heat pump.

This strikes me as yet another handout to the rich that liberals like Peter Welch are constantly denouncing. Let the credit expire, and let people pay for their own heat pumps.

John McClaughry is the founder and current vice-president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Chris Campion December 24, 2013 at 1:50 pm

Peter will argue that these incentives are necessary, while simultaneously arguing that higher taxes do not dampen economic activity. We need to get the politicians out of the tax code, because it’s just a vehicle for them to have something to sell to the voters every two years, touted as evidence that they’re doing something, anything, for Vermonters.

The better idea is to remove credits entirely and shrink the budget equal to the amount that’s being spent annually on tax credits. I’ll take another look, but I’m fairly certain heat pumps aren’t mentioned anywhere in the Constitution.

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