It’s hard to forget how politicized the wind production tax credit became during the 2012 presidential election. Vestas, the wind turbine manufacturer with plants all over Colorado, was living high on the hog at taxpayer expense until it began laying off workers right before the presidential election. The move was no doubt intended to pressure political leaders. Democrats took full advantage, even using a local Pueblo man who was laid off by the wind industry in one of their attack ads against Mitt Romney.
Ultimately, and with bipartisan support from the Colorado delegation, the PTC was extended for one-year as part of the fiscal cliff deal in 2013. Since then, Vestas has rebounded. In fact, Colorado newspapers have recently been plastered with stories that the company is hiring and enjoying a “second wind.”
This positive news about Vestas has left us wondering why Sens. Michael Bennet and Mark Udall have chosen right now to renew their call for another extension of the wind production tax credit. Why do we need to go through this rigmarole again? Dare we say our Senators are politically motivated?
Listen, we get the jobs argument and how deeply this issue affects many Colorado workers. We also understand why members of Congress voted to renew the credit two years ago. But let’s face it, if an industry lives or dies based on the existence of a tax credit then it probably isn’t ready for prime time.
Instead of trying to champion what has become a crutch for the wind industry, the Senators should be encouraging the wind industry to stand on its own and figure out a way to be a competitive source of energy in the marketplace. At the end of the day, it’s not fair to the thousands of employees who work in the wind industry to put their future and livelihoods into the hands of Congress every couple of years.