Posts Tagged ‘tax credits’

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Blue dogs and green tax credits

by The Green A-Team

If Green building can save the housing market, what’s holding us back?

Our Government holds the power to dramatically effect the fate of the housing market.  Legislation that offers financial incentives to lenders helps developers and homeowners who put a premium on energy efficiency.  The House Financial Services Committee decides whether a bill that favors Green building will be approved.

Sean Todd, President & CEO of Fox Patomac Resources LLC.

For a tax credit to be passed, it’s gotta be taken out of somewhere else so they have to look for offsets to pay for these tax credits in Green buildings and that has been the major obstacle.

While Republicans objected to the estimated $2.7 billion dollar cost associated with the bill, the Obama administration will surly create a strongly activist Congress to push progressive ideas like this ahead.

For more on the green path out of the housing crisis, check out some of the following links.

The US Market for Green Building Materials (

Cool Housing Market Makes Green Buildings Shine (

Could efficient homes save the US housing market from an Asian takeover? (Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce)

Click here for our full interview with Sean Todd.

Photo by WayneWho?

Exclusive Inteview with Sean Todd, Founder of Fox Patomac Resources

by The Green A-Team

As founder and president of Fox Potomac Resources, Sean Todd has over a decade of work within the Legislative Branch, Executive Branch and private sector lobbying arena in Washington, D.C. Prior to founding FPR, he spent three years in the government affairs and marketing offices of International Technology Corporation. He is responsible for the development, implementation and management of firm’s activities, including client development, execution of work and deliverables, and sole P&L responsibilities.

Q: What is holding legislative bodies from passing Green building policies?

A: What’s holding back the House of Representatives specifically in passing financial incentives and tax rebates to promote the use of green technologies in buildings is a policy known as pay-as-you-go.  Pay-as-you-go is a principle that if you’re passing tax credits, subsidies as some people call them, that the House of Reps, especially the “blue dogs, the coservative to moderate Democrats, want to make sure that we have a balanced budget.  In other words, for tax credits to be passed it’s gotta be taken out from somewhere else in the general revenues.  So they have to look for offsets, Rich, in somewhere else in the tax code or in the appropriations process to pay for these tax credits in green buildings and that has been, I would say, the major obstacle in finding those offsets to pay for green building tax credits.

Now in the Senate, there is no obstacle there because the blue dogs are a House body and they don’t have as much as a firm pay-as-you-go principle on the Senate side.

Q: What is the current status of the green building initiative before the House Financial Services Committee?

A: Well, Rich, the current status of Green building tax codes and tax legislation really goes before the House Ways and Means Committee which is responsible for all tax pieces of legislation.  So Financial Services is the Committee that really has jurisdiction over mortgage credits, banks… the Financial Services Committee is more of an authorizer, if you will, the Ways and Means Committee has to do more with passing actual tax legislation.

Q: With Republicans objecting to previous bills and other like it, do you feel the new administration will be more aggressive to pushing incentives to building green and other environmental actions going forward?

A: Absolutely, Rich.  The Obama Administration will be more aggressive in pushing green building tax credits.  If you read Obama’s plan, he has a fairly aggressive plan to make all new buildings carbon neutral by 2030, he has a goal to establish new building efficiency by 50% and by 25% over the next decade, he wants to establish a competitive grant program for early adopters to make awards for those states and localities who take the first steps implementing those new building codes.  As far as Federal buildings go, it’s even more aggressive under Obama’s plan; he wants to achieve a 40% increase in efficiency in all new Federal buildings within five years and also ensure that all new Federal buildings have zero emissions, in other words, a zero carbon footprint by 2025.  Very aggressive goal.

Q: It seems most developers are on board with this and it doesn’t seem too far fetched.

A: Well, they are expensive and if you build green technologies into your mortgage they’re not as expensive but they are at the moment, sort of expensive to put in there.  I think the first opportunity will be with Obama’s windfall profit tax initiative.  He wants to all companies to take a share of their windfall profits and use it to provide direct relief to individuals and married couples, $500 for individuals, $1000 for a married couple, and I think that will be an opportunity, perhaps, to insert some of these green building tax credits.  We’ll have to wait and see.  It really depends on the leadership in the House and Senate, Max Baucus in the Senate and Charlie Rangel in the House.

Q: What is the relationship in your perspective between the economic crisis and the environmental crisis?

A: Well that’s a big question, Rich. I’m not sure I have the scope of a mind to tackle this.  I think Obama recognizes that they’re both enormous challenges and Presidents can only do so much, they can only really focus on 4, 5, 6 things at a time and he’s gotta establish his priorities.  He said in his second debate, then Senator Obama said that he would have energy as his top priority so we’ll see if he lives up to that commitment.

Photo by bno20.

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Senatorial Sea Change:
How the Feds Are Voting for the Earth First

by The Green A-Team

As our economy free falls toward a recession and possible depression, what can the government really do?

Letdown after failure after empty promise has more than discouraged American voters and investors.  But there is one bright spot in the government’s plan to rescue us and it begins with the environment.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) have unveiled a $56.2 billion “economic recovery package” which includes funding for things like public transit, home weatherization, and environmental cleanup.

But that’s not all, by an overwhelming 93 to 2 vote, the full Senate approved the Baucus-Grassley tax extender bill, which includes a one-year extension of the production tax credit given out to producers of clean energy specific to solar and wind.

In this day and age of the politics of fear and the inability of large government bureaucracies to get anything done, this recent development seems to be an exception to the rule.

For more on our government going Green, the bailout, and other shreds of hope, check out some of the links below.

How the US Government Engineered the Current Economic Crisis (

Government IT Goes Green (

Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty

Photo by Cubadad.

Senate Prepares to Vote on Wind Energy Tax Credit Extention

by The Green A-Team

Live C-Span coverage of the Senate’s renewable energy vote here.

Green Air Filter:

This just in!

Moments ago, by an overwhelming 93 to 2 vote, the full Senate approved the Baucus-Grassley tax extender bill, which includes a one-year extension of the production tax credit.  It still has to make it through the House.

They giveth and they taketh away.  Tax credits for renewable energy given to businesses and homeowners of solar and wind power systems (but not geothermal, hydroelectric, or kinetic generators for some reason) are slated to expire at the end of 2008.  If these tax breaks go away, the already jittery utility companies and investors of these technologies may go away and those of us who like our air, water, and power clean can start burning those short lived credits to keep warm.

Today, on the brink of this next round of Senatorial voting, Gregory Wetstone of the American Wind Energy Association delivered these inspiring words:

“On behalf of America’s wind energy industry and the millions of Americans who favor clean, domestic wind power, I applaud this critically important effort to move forward on renewable energy tax incentives before Congress leaves town at the end of the month.  We are grateful to Senate leaders from both parties who put aside their differences to come together around this bipartisan package.  Clean energy tax incentives are a vital part of the solution to our nation’s economic, energy security, and environmental challenges.  With more than 100,000 jobs and billions of dollars in clean energy investment at risk, we urge all members of the Senate to vote yes on the Baucus-Grassley Amendment to H.R. 6049 and on final passage of this important legislation.  We hope the Senate’s approval of this measure today will add to the momentum for swift action in the House of Representatives.”

The vote could happen any minute so cross your fingers and check that C-Span link.

Photo by AWEA.