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Ways and Means Democrats Introduce Bills to Extend Wind Energy Tax Credit, Provide Hiring Tax Credit

Ways and Means Committee Democrats today introduced two more jobs bills within their No Excuses Agenda as they seek to encourage Congressional Republicans to finally act to spur job growth. The Wind Powering American Jobs Act would extend through 2013 the production tax credit for wind energy manufacturers, a highly successful measure with strong bipartisan support that expires at the end of the year. The Hire Now Act would provide a 10 percent income tax credit for employer payroll increases this year, an identical measure to one included in the Small Business Jobs and Tax Relief Act of 2012, which will soon be acted on in the Senate. Both measures would be paid for by ending tax breaks for the Big Five oil and gas companies, which earned a combined $32 billion in profits during the first three months of 2012 alone. (SUMMARIES BELOW)

Today's bill introductions add to the No Excuses Agenda that Ways and Means Democrats kicked off last week with the introduction of legislation to extend 100 percent Bonus Depreciation through 2012, another bipartisan provision that Republicans in Congress have so far failed to bring up for a vote.

"It is far past time for congressional Republicans to stop their obstructionism and get to work to boost job growth," said Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI). "These two measures would do just that. The wind energy tax credit has been both very effective and very popular across both sides of the aisle and there's no excuse for Republicans to sit on its extension and create further uncertainty for the wind energy industry. The tax credit for increasing payrolls would provide a concrete incentive for businesses to hire new workers and could immediately benefit two million small businesses. It is up to Republicans to set aside politics and act now on behalf of American workers."

"Congress should continue its long-standing support for a broad array of clean energy tax incentives to spur investment, create jobs and diversify our nation's energy portfolio," said Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY). "New wind power manufacturing jobs are already being lost, and if a PTC extension is delayed until the lame duck session, many more losses will certainly follow. The PTC has strong bipartisan support-- Congress can get it done now. We should be focusing on creating jobs, and these energy provisions will let companies plan and hire people. There's absolutely no excuse to wait - let's do it now."

"There is no reason we shouldn't bring these job creating bills to the floor right now," said Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA). "By extending the production tax credit, we can protect and promote green jobs in an industry that creates clean energy, and pay for it by closing tax loopholes for big oil and gas companies. That's a win for local manufacturers in the East Bay, and it's a win for our alternative energy sector."

"Since President Obama took office the stated goal of Republican leadership has been to prevent his reelection," said Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA). "They have become the party of "no,' even at the expense of the American people. Recognizing this, we are offering two more bills that Republicans should have no problem passing. Each bill has Republican support, is fully paid for, and is known to save and create jobs," said Congressman Jim McDermott (D-WA). "For the sake of struggling Americans and American businesses, I hope that my Republican colleagues will finally move beyond the politics of "no' and allow these bills to come to the floor. Failing to pass these bills would show, yet again, that the Republican majority is more interested in Presidential politics than doing the right thing for the American people."

"The two bills we're introducing today are good for businesses, good for job creation and good for our economy," said Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA). "The only question is, will this House Majority bring these bills up for a vote or will they continue to delay job creation and hurt our economy until after the election in an attempt to score cheep political points? It's time to quit the political games and start putting Americans back to work."

"Oregon demonstrates the potential and power of renewable resources," said Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR). "Wind power is driving innovation and creating jobs across the state and the federal Production Tax Credit is a critical component. Oregon's wind resources power more approximately 700,000 Oregon households, and the wind industry supports more than 3,000 Oregon jobs. Immediately extending the Production Tax Credit will ensure that there is a stable environment where the wind industry in Oregon and across the country can continue to thrive, providing renewable power and clean energy -- two things we definitely need."

"There are no more excuses, we've got to make some real progress in creating the environment for job growth that our economy so desperately needs right now," said Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI). "And that means moving past the partisanship, supporting our small businesses, and providing the tax relief and incentives employers need to grow and hire. That's exactly what the extension of the wind production tax credit and the hiring credit for increased W2 wages would do and exactly what we need to focus on right now."

"Putting Nevadans back to work is my number one priority and that's why I'm proud to cosponsor these two bills that aim to create jobs in Nevada and across our nation," said Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV). "While some in Washington work to protect corporations that ship our jobs overseas, I'm working with my colleagues to pass legislation that invests in clean energy jobs and provides small businesses the tools they need to expand and hire employees."

"We can't say it enough: we need real action on jobs and we need it now," said Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY). "The time for excuses is over. These two bills, along with last week's proposed bonus depreciation legislation, are actions we can take now to create jobs and encourage an atmosphere of growth in this country. It is time our colleagues on the other side of the aisle abandon their partisan games and join us in working toward real solutions."

Summary of the Wind Powering American Jobs Act:

The Wind Powering American Jobs Act would extend the Production Tax Credit through 2013, providing a 2.2-cent-a-kilowatt-hour credit for electricity produced by wind turbines. Under the measure, wind project developers could continue to choose to instead receive a 30 percent investment tax credit. The Production Tax Credit, established in 1992, has helped lead to tremendous growth within the windy energy industry. The extension is paid for by repealing dual capacity taxpayer benefits for the Big Five integrated oil companies, which continue to reap record profits.

Key Facts:

There is broad bipartisan support for the Production Tax Credit, so much so that even Karl Rove advocates for its extension.
In the last five years alone, the wind energy industry has scaled up domestic manufacturing from 25 percent to 60 percent. Nearly 500 facilities in 44 states manufacture for the wind energy industry, according to the American Wind Energy Association.
The wind industry has attracted more than $15 billion annually in private investment to the U.S. in each of the last five years, according to the American Wind Energy Association.

Summary of the Hire Now Act:

The Hire Now Act would provide a 10 percent income tax credit for firms that create new jobs or increase wages in 2012. Under the legislation a firm can increase its payroll by either hiring additional workers or raising the salary of existing workers. The credit is targeted to middle class jobs and wages and because the credit is based on Social Security wages, companies would receive no credit for wages above $110,100. It would be paid for by repealing LIFO and Intangible Drilling Costs (IDCs) for the Big Five integrated oil companies.

In order to focus the benefit on small businesses, the credit is limited to $5 million in new wages, meaning the maximum tax benefit is $500,000 per firm.
Provides $20 billion in direct tax relief that could encourage an additional $200 billion to $300 billion in new wages and jobs this year.
Would benefit approximately 2 million small businesses.

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