Cash blown in the wind


Editor:

The govt. of Ont. is wasting the tax dollars of hard working people at an alarming rate, yet the media remains silent. The taxpayer has become an unwitting investor. The only problem is they will see no stock certificate and no return on their investment. They will however see higher utility rates. This theft needs to stop NOW!

The story below refers to the goings on in Oregon but the same story is being played out all over North America.

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I want to thank Klockarman from Glore Lied for this story.

Cash blown in the wind; in pursuit of green energy Oregon is wasting millions of tax dollars on risky ventures and prosperous businesses

Kudos to The Oregonian today for taking off their green-colored goggles for a moment, and investigating a massive waste of the state’s taxpayer dollars.

Harry Esteve reports:

Oregon taxpayers are shelling out tens of millions of dollars to subsidize green energy projects, making the state a magnet for solar and wind companies.

But an investigation by The Oregonian shows that the money also is going to risky ventures with questionable environmental benefits and to prosperous companies that need no incentives but are cashing in anyway.



The handouts come from Oregon’s Business Energy Tax Credit program — the state’s fastest growing tax shelter. The credits are so easy to obtain that more than 4,000 applicants have lined up to get them whether they need them or not. Klondike Wind Farms, for example, seeks $44 million in state tax breaks even though eastern Oregon’s wind-blown geography has proved a profitable turbine location, subsidies or no.

“It’s gotten out of hand,” says Chuck Sheketoff, director of the Oregon Center for Public Policy, which studies the impact of state tax policies on low-income residents. “It’s being scammed. It’s not serving its purpose.”

Even banks and big corporations that have nothing to do with renewable energy are grabbing the tax breaks. Under the state’s generous incentives, groups and companies that qualify for tax credits can turn around and sell them. Most do. Standard Insurance, for example, paid $2.5 million to Flakeboard, an Albany mill that makes composite wood. In exchange, Standard gets to use $3.5 million in tax credits the mill received for building a wood-burning boiler that can generate electricity.

Oregon’s energy tax credits began as a small, targeted program aimed at conservation and efficiency. It kicked into high gear after the 2007 legislative session, when Kulongoski pushed for some of the biggest tax breaks offered anywhere in the nation.

Under the 2007 rules, companies could apply for up to 50 percent of the cost of the project, up to a limit of $20 million, as long as they could show the project would save energy or produce renewable energy or fuel alternatives.



At the time, state officials projected the changes would add $2 million to a projected $23 million hit on the state’s two-year budget. They were wrong. Less than two years later, the program is costing taxpayers $78 million. And that figure easily could triple again. State records show more than 4,400 applications pending for the credits, for projects worth $716 million.

Read it all at The Oregonian.

Visit Klockarman at Glore Lied

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