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Expiring Federal Wind Production Tax Credit (PTC) could impact NW Indiana businesses December 29, 2012

Posted by Laura Arnold in Uncategorized.
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Original article: Expiring tax credit could impact local business

 By Matt Fritz, Staff writer, 1-866-362-2167 Ext. 13887, mfritz@heraldargus.com
Published: Thursday, December 27, 2012 5:05 PM CST
La PORTE — Whether some Indiana and La Porte businesses continue to succeed in the coming years depends on the renewal of a particular tax credit for smart energy, said Donn Pendergrass, a representative for wind industry manufacturing workers at ATI Casting in La Porte.Pendergrass, along with other industry workers from Pennsylvania and Indiana, met with lawmakers in Washington, D.C. about the expiring Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy.The PTC, a 2.2 cent-per-kilowatt tax credit for the production of electricity from utility scale wind turbines, has been allowed to expire in the past, with dire results to industries, Pendergrass noted.

He knows from experience. Back in 2006 he worked at the RMG foundry in Mishawaka, a business that at one point boasted 1,200 employees. He said the failure of the tax credit to renew on time, and for a long enough period of time, helped lead to the foundry’s closure.

Now with it up for renewal again he is hoping for it to get at least three years. He fears if it passes that it might only get one.”By the time you get your orders in and get those orders fulfilled you need more than one year,” he said. “You need three to get up and running for orders, for designing new blades.”Anytime there is a change in the design you have to make some modification,” he continued. “And they take time. And my concern is in getting more or less a three to five year period to get it off and running.”

He pointed out that ATI Casting Services in La Porte once employed 500 workers in a business that produced three castings per day. Now it makes no castings for wind turbines and employs less than 100.

He said the biggest round of layoffs for that company was 350 workers. If the credits are renewed in time, he said many of them could possibly get their jobs back.

The president of the 1191 Amalgamated Local Steel Workers union, Pendergrass said wind energy is a burgeoning business and the credits are needed to help it grow and expand. He said wind energy is profitable. And with its current business, he said Indiana could be in the forefront of the industry.

But one of the issues holding the bill back is the talk of the deficit and the fiscal cliff in capital hill

“They speak of adding to the deficit and the fiscal cliff and this and that,” he said, “but working people are the ones that spend the money and put it back into the system so it can work.”

He said he is hoping it passes after the first of the year.

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