WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Senate passed housing stimulus legislation (H.R. 3221) designed to provide tax breaks to certain underperforming companies and for purchasing foreclosed homes. The Foreclosure Prevention Act includes a provision co-sponsored by Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) and Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) that extends tax incentives to encourage the production of renewable energy.
This bipartisan compromise commits approximately $7 billion in tax credits over 10 years for the development of wind, geothermal, biomass, water power, methane, fuel cell and solar plants, and stationary microturbines projects. The provision also directs clean and renewable energy bonds to state, local, and tribal governments and covers residential and commercial property efficiency improvements.
“Expanding the development and use of alternative energy is an important component to addressing our nation’s energy crisis,” said Senator Stevens. “Tax credits contained in this bill represent a significant step forward in spurring renewable energy innovation. Alternative energy pioneers like Bernie Karl have demonstrated how great Alaska’s potential is in this arena.”
“But even with the passage of this amendment, we must not forget that developing Alaska’s oil and gas could be the key funding mechanism for alternative energy projects. If our resources are developed, private investment and increased federal tax and royalty revenues would finance a new generation of solar, geothermal, nuclear, and wind energy projects. Without domestic production of traditional energy sources, many of these projects may never receive the funding needed to become reality, even with these abundant tax credits.”
More than 200 companies and organizations have announced their support for this renewable energy legislation, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, Alaska Wind Power LLC, Honeywell, GE, Home Depot, Edison Electric Institute, John Deere, JP Morgan Chase, The Sierra Club, The Union of Concerned Scientists, and The United Steelworkers.
The underlying housing stimulus package contains several measures to provide relief to struggling homeowners, including:
- a $7,000 tax credit, spread over two years, for Americans who purchase a foreclosed home;
- a standard property tax deduction for taxpayers who do not itemize on their returns;
- over $10 billion in bond authority that could be used for subprime loan refinancing, mortgages for first-time home buyers, or multifamily rental housing;
- an extension – from two years to four years – of a provision that allows corporations to apply current losses to previous profits and receive applicable tax refunds; and
- an additional $180 million for foreclosure prevention counseling.