Senate Finance Committee to mark up tax extenders legislation

By Derrick Cain

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WASHINGTON, April 2, 2014 - The Senate Finance Committee will mark up legislation Thursday to renew various expired tax provisions, known as “tax extenders,” and to provide assistance for biodiesel, cellulosic biofuel and other renewable fuels.

Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and ranking member Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, released the Expiring Provisions Improvement Reform and Efficiency Act on Tuesday. A summary of the bill can be viewed here. The package includes provisions that aim to benefit individuals, families, and small businesses, incentivize innovative research and development, and promote alternative and renewable energy initiatives, among other issues.

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“For far too long Washington has acted to extend long-standing tax policy, rarely shining a spotlight on the individual provisions or their impact on the families and businesses that benefit from them,” Hatch said. “Such dysfunction must come to an end.”

The legislation includes:

•           An extension for two years of the 30 percent investment tax credit for alternative vehicle refueling property, which includes fuel pumps for ethanol, biodiesel, liquefied hydrogen, and compressed or liquefied natural gas. The extension is estimated to cost $8 million over 10 years.

•           An extension of a production tax credit for two years for cellulosic biofuel production facilities, allowing claims of a $1.01 per gallon production tax credit. The cost is estimated at $55 million over 10 years.

•           An extension of a $1 per gallon tax credit for biodiesel for two years, as well as the small agro-biodiesel producer credit of 10 cents per gallon. The bill would also extend the $1 per gallon tax credit for diesel fuel created from biomass. The pricetag: $2.6 billion over 10 years.

•           An extension of the bonus depreciation for two years for facilities producing cellulosic biofuel to expense 50 percent of their eligible capital costs in the first year for facilities placed in service by the end of 2013. The bill would extend this bonus depreciation for two additional years for facilities placed in service before the end of 2015. The cost is estimated to be $1 million over 10 years.

•           An extension, for two years, of the 50 cents per gallon alternative fuel tax credit and alternative fuel mixture tax credit. This extension is estimated to cost $90 million over 10 years.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., expressed disappointment that wind tax provisions were left out of the proposal.

“There's a significant amount of bipartisan, bicameral support for the wind tax provisions,” Grassley said. “Wind energy supports thousands of jobs and generates billions of dollars in investment across the country using a natural, non-polluting resource.”

Franz Matzner, associate director of government affairs at the Natural Resources Defense Council, described the bill as the “opening shot for Senate consideration of restoring important tax incentives.”

“America doesn't have to settle for dirty air and yesterday's energy,” Matzner said. “It is vital that renewable energy and energy efficiency get the support they need to continue growing our economy and cutting pollution. These tax credits save consumers money, reduce U.S. dependence on dirty fuels, fight climate change and create jobs.”

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