Today, Rep. Sal Pace (D-Pueblo) highlighted specific solutions Congressman Tipton can take to extend the Wind Production Tax Credit to prevent future layoffs at Pueblo-based Vestas.
Despite multiple pleas, to date Tipton has refused to introduce legislation to save these Colorado jobs.
Vestas announced this week it has been forced to lay off workers because of the inaction and uncertainty of Congress to extend the wind production tax credit. Pace said he has been urging Tipton for months to take a leadership role to ensure these jobs are not lost.
"He says he supports the production tax credit, yet he has done nothing," Pace said. "Colorado is home to thousands of jobs in the wind industry, with hundreds right here in Pueblo. Today marks the 590th day Tipton has been in Congress, and he has yet to introduce a bill to extend the tax credit, offer an amendment to extend the PTC, co-sponsor other bills that extend the tax credit or even work with his majority leadership to ensure a vote on the tax credit. Let me be clear, Tipton's inaction is failing our community."
Pace pointed out that the decades-old tax credit is not a divisive nor partisan issue and should be easy to pass. Speaker Boehner was fundraising for Tipton this week in Colorado, and Pace asked Tipton to speak with him about reconvening Congress and voting on the tax credit. Tipton has yet to respond.
"I ask Congressman Tipton if he took the opportunity he had with Speaker Boehner to ask him to reconvene Congress to take up this urgent matter?" Pace asked. "When jobs are being lost, our representatives should not be sitting on the sidelines. Tipton's lack of leadership is costing people real jobs. This is unacceptable."
Now that job losses have started, Pace is laying out steps Tipton could take to save Colorado jobs.
Text of the letter:
August 16, 2012
In light of the Vestas announcement that they have begun layoffs here in the district you currently represent, I felt compelled to write to you about the Wind Production Tax Credit (PTC) set to expire this December. As Pueblo's State Representative and a concerned Coloradan, I beg that you show leadership and put people before politics and work to save jobs here in Colorado.
While many of your votes in the past have been hostile towards renewables like wind energy, I am encouraged by your vocalized support of extending the tax credit that you can do something to prevent further job loss in Colorado. As the Congressman for this district, you are in the driver's seat and I think much more could be done than letters or talking about the issue.
The power is in your hands to prevent any future layoffs. Please do the right thing. I ask you today to work to save Colorado jobs by doing these 3 things that could make a significant difference in saving jobs in Southern Colorado:
Work with your leadership to immediately move along a wind energy PTC -- As you are all too aware of from being in DC, short-term and last-minute extensions create uncertainty for businesses. Unfortunately House leadership has yet to bring an extension of the PTC to the floor for an up or down vote adding to that uncertainty. An existing legislative vehicle that has been reported out of committee could be amended and quickly passed, which would give wind energy producers like Vestas the ability to plan long term and keep jobs in Colorado.
Introduce stand-alone legislation extending the production tax credit for wind energy - New standalone legislation that you could promote would show producers that Congress is listening. With your hard work hopefully a bill could pass.
Co-Sponsor H.R. 3307 -- The American Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit Extension Act (H.R. 3307) is a bipartisan bill that would extend the production tax credit for four years. While broad-based, its passage would benefit Colorado.
As you are aware, unless Congress extends the PTC, Vestas, who has made considerable investments in the state of Colorado, has estimated that it would be forced to close and eliminate most of the 1,600 jobs it has created in Colorado. Now, unfortunately, Vestas has begun these layoffs. At the state level, we have worked to promote wind energy -- in fact Vestas cites the State of Colorado's accommodating posture as one of the reasons they located here to begin with. I would hate to see this hard work erased because Congress once again failed to act on an issue.
But most importantly, there are jobs at stake here. To me this isn't political. Families all across Colorado would be hit hard by Vestas leaving, and my hometown of Pueblo would be devastated. Please put people before politics and work to extend the PTC for wind energy.
I look forward to seeing your hard work keep jobs in here in Colorado.