By Ben Gann, director of legislative affairs, NLBMDA
On Aug. 2, by a 19-5 vote, the Senate Committee on Finance approved legislation to continue dozens of expired or soon-to-expire tax breaks known as “tax extenders” through 2013, including the residential energy efficiency (25C) tax credit. The proposal was not supported by five of the committee’s 11 Republicans.
The committee approved the measure after many of the more than 100 amendments to the legislation were not offered. Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) had proposed two amendments seeking to strike the extension of the 25C tax credit and replace it with an incentive program linked to the way an entire house performs, but those amendments were withdrawn. During the markup, the committee expressed support for drawing up a comprehensive tax overhaul next year that would include broadening the tax base and phasing out energy tax credits.
The 25C tax credit first took effect in 2006 and was increased for 2009 and 2010. The credit was reduced for 2011 and expired at the beginning of this year. Although the reduced amounts are not as beneficial to homeowners, they still provide an incentive for homeowners wanting to make energy-efficient improvements.
The House Committee on Ways and Means is conducting its own examination of tax extenders, and a final agreement is not expected to be reached until the lame-duck session after the November elections. NLBMDA supports extending the 25C tax credit and will continue working with Congress on an extension.