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White House supports energy tax-credit hike December 16, 2009

Posted by Laura Arnold in Uncategorized.
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Editor’s note: This is a follow-up to an article posted Sunday, Dec. 13, 2009
L
ugar Joins Senators Who Introduce Bill to Stimulate Clean Energy Manufacturing

December 16, 2009

http://detnews.com/article/20091216/BIZ/912160323

Senate effort to double incentive available for advanced manufacturing

DAVID SHEPARDSON
Detroit News Washington Bureau

Washington — The White House expects today to announce its support of an effort to more than triple, to $7.3 billion, tax credits for advanced energy manufacturing.

In February, Congress passed a $2.3 billion tax credit giving businesses a 30 percent tax credit to produce high-tech batteries, electric vehicles, wind turbines, solar panels and renewable fuels, among other technologies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

But due to an unexpectedly high number of applicants, the program will run out of money by mid-January.

Vice President Joe Biden today will reaffirm the administration’s commitment to a “strong manufacturing sector as a vital part of both the American economy and the rebuilding of the American middle class.”

As part of that support, the White House is expected to endorse a $5 billion expansion of the tax credit, to $7.3 billion.

That’s double the $2.5 billion sought in a bill last week by four bipartisan senators: Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing; Orrin Hatch, R-Utah; Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M.; and Richard Lugar, R-Ind. They wanted to attach the money in a jobs bill that Congress will take up in the coming weeks.

Stabenow said the White House has been very supportive of the tax credit increase.

“We have a long line of manufacturers who have applied for the credit,” Stabenow said Wednesday. “We have more people in Michigan that are going to be able to create jobs” if the 30 percent credit is expanded.

President Barack Obama praised the idea last week.

“With additional resources, in areas like advanced manufacturing of wind turbines and solar panels, for instance, we can help turn good ideas into good private-sector jobs,” Obama said.

Automakers support the efforts to extend the credit.

“Sen. Stabenow and her colleagues should be commended for helping put American manufacturing on a competitive footing in the fight for new, green technologies,” said General Motors Co. spokesman Greg Martin.

But money-losing automakers aren’t expected to benefit immediately, since they have no taxes to offset.

Some, however, have applied so they can use credits when they again are profitable.
Manufacturing has been hit hard since the recession began in December 2007, losing 2.1 million factory jobs.

Manufacturing now accounts for less than 9 percent of U.S. employment.

That’s its lowest percentage since before World War II.

Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm has lobbied the Obama administration for more funding for the tax credit, noting that the state has attracted a number of new advanced manufacturing developments in solar panels, wind turbines and batteries.

“I have asked them to take the cap off, so that there’s a significant investment effort,” she  said. In September, Michigan announced it was helping fund a $725 million transformation of Ford Motor Co.’s shuttered Wixom plant.

Companies at the redeveloped site plan to build solar panels and utility-scale batteries for generating renewable power.

Michigan has the nation’s highest unemployment rate at 15.2 percent, in part because the state’s shed a quarter of its factory jobs over the last year.

Biden came to Detroit in August to unveil $2.4 billion in battery and electric vehicle research grants.

Michigan received more than half of the funds.

The administration has a multipronged effort aimed at creating tens of thousands of green jobs.

dshepardson@detnews.com

(202) 662-8735

This article brought to you by the Indiana Renewable Energy Association.

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