Statements and Speeches

WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, released the following statement regarding the committee’s hearing on “Reforming America’s Outdated Energy Tax Code.”

“I thank the Chairman for holding this hearing and look forward to more hearings as we continue to dive into the details of this important issue.

“Energy tax expenditures play an important role in the development and deployment of advanced energy technologies. Today, we often think that the goal of energy tax incentives is mainly to help support the deployment of renewable energies. However, in truth, these provisions have been important for all types of energy sources – including natural gas, coal, and nuclear. As a result, our country has been able to access energy cheaper in a more diversified way – making us more energy secure and more economically competitive.

“Although we’ve seen great gains in the industry as a result of these tax incentives, we can do better than the status quo. I believe we need to incentivize energy in a smarter, more efficient way.

“For example, despite increasing investments in renewables and other clean energies, the current energy tax system is not created equal. Many of the expenditures for fossil fuels are permanent, providing great certainty for business, but also incentivizing many activities that no longer require taxpayer support. At the same time, many of the renewable energy credits expire annually, resulting in great uncertainty for businesses. Uncertainty has reduced investments and therefore reduced the incentive effect.

“Through tax reform, I believe we have an opportunity to create greater parity between energy fuel types, provide greater business certainty for investments in new technologies—and all while reducing our national debt. We can provide tax certainty in different ways.

“One great example is the legislation I sponsored with Senator Collins —S. 401, the Incentivizing Offshore Wind Power Act. Through this legislation, we provide a 30-percent investment tax credit for the first 3,000 MW of offshore wind produced in this country. This long-term credit gives businesses the certainty they need to invest in an important emerging technology. This type of approach could be used for other types of advanced energy sectors in the tax code.

“However, we should also not be afraid to look outside the box when it comes to energy tax reform. As new technologies try to break into the market and old technologies mature, a technology-neutral approach may be a more economical approach than current status. I believe Senator Baucus’s energy tax reform whitepaper was a great start for the discussion on this new energy-neutral approach and hope we continue to explore this policy option.

“With that said, I look forward to working with my colleagues on the committee on these approaches and more to reform our ailing energy tax code.”