Should policymakers vote to extend tax policies incenting renewable energy, including those for wind energy and biofuels?
This year is shaping up like ones past: Congress faces an eleventh-hour decision about whether to extend a slew of temporary tax provisions that expire at year's end, some of which affect energy industries. This time around, the debate is taking place while leaders on the tax-writing committees—House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., and Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont.—are working on long-term comprehensive tax reform, which could cloud efforts to pass a last-minute deal to extend temporary tax incentives.
Policies the energy industry is affected by include the production tax credit for wind power and several similar temporary incentives for the biofuels industry. Meanwhile, certain tax provisions the oil and natural-gas industries receive may be eliminated as part of comprehensive tax reform, if Congress really takes up such reform.
Should Congress pass an overarching "tax extenders" package like it does at the end of most years? What factors should Congress consider when making this decision? How does this eleventh-hour debate affect efforts to achieve comprehensive tax reform, and vice versa?