Groups backed by Charles Koch are urging Congress not to renew expired tax breaks during the lame-duck session that ends in December. Traditionally members of Congress like to revive the tax breaks which have expired. Koch and his supporters fear that will happen this year and are applying pressure to make sure that doesn’t happen.
The Koch-backed groups, Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce wrote a letter on Monday to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) that said, in part:
“The expired provisions provide special interest tax breaks and unfairly pick winners and losers by propping up select industries and companies over others.”
Over 25 tax provisions, which are called “tax extenders,” expired at the end of 2017. They included special tax breaks for renewable energy, motorsports, and horse racing industries. Traditionally Congress passes one- or two-year extensions of tax extenders in December of each year.
Kevin Brady of Texas is chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee which is responsible for writing tax bills. He announced last week that he has put together a “draft package” that explains which of the expired tax breaks he thinks should be renewed and which should be eliminated. He also said that he does not know if Congress will want to address the expired tax provisions in December’s lame-duck session.
The groups in the Koch network compared the expired tax breaks to the incentives that New York and Virginia have offered Amazon to locate new offices in their states.
“Americans across the country, including lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, have rightfully decried the billions of dollars in corporate welfare given to Amazon,” the Koch groups wrote. “The billions more that are up for renewal in the tax extender package are no different.”
The groups also said that the temporary tax provisions “have no place in a post-tax reform world.”
Koch Industries released a statement last week asking Congress to not renew the tax extenders, especially one that provides tax breaks for electric vehicles.
Counteracting the Koch initiative is a powerful coalition of businesses and groups that is in favor of tax incentives for renewable and clean energy. This coalition is led by the Alliance to Save Energy. They sent a letter to members of Congress last week also, asking that they renew and update expired tax breaks that provide incentives for energy efficiency.
According to the Alliance:
“The tax provisions stimulate economic activity by encouraging efficiency projects and upgrades in homes and buildings across the country while ensuring reduced energy consumption in the built environment for decades to come.”
While Donald Trump continues to make headlines every day with his unhinged and desperate tweets, there actually are some important things going on in Washington. Extending tax benefits for renewable, clean energy projects is certainly something that should be at the top of the list of actions Congress needs to take to protect America’s future.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.