Time has come to repeal all state tax credits for alternative energy

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Projects must become viable, without taxpayer subsidies

bill-cook

Sen. Bill Cook

NORTHEAST N.C. – Recent news reports have described solar projects in Currituck County as costing the county more than $800,000 per year in lost revenue. This has happened because of state tax credits for solar energy, approved by the North Carolina General Assembly.

This comes as no surprise. This newspaper reported several months ago that a project developer, who played all the right angles — could end up with all development expenses and carrying costs paid in just six years, with 100 percent profit thereafter.

So it is time for the developers of these projects to stand on their own financially and stop relying upon the taxpayer to support these industries. It is time for them to invest their own money, not ours, says state Sen. Bill Cook. Further, if it is not worth investing a developer’s own money, why should we, the taxpayers, be forced to invest ours?


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Of course, elected officials in Pasquotank County have titled in favor of wind energy, which benefits from the same tax credits. It certainly looks as though the commissioners are willing to not only accept less money in taxes, but the commissioners also are willing to spend taxpayer money to defend a state agency from a lawsuit by private citizen.

By joining in the lawsuit of Badawi and Owens v DENR, the county is willing to use tax dollars in order to make a political statement of support and incur legal bills rather than to remain neutral — as was recommended by the board’s own staff attorney. Apparently, the commissioners have not considered their position in the Desert Wind project very carefully. Otherwise they might have the same concerns as Currituck County is expressing now.

But of course, it is easy to make these types of decisions when it is not your personal money that is at risk!

It is worth remembering that the commissioners thought so much of the public interest in this matter that they went into closed session to discuss this issue rather than in open session as they are required to do by law. Then, when the open session took place and questions began to come forward to County Attorney Mike Cox, he stated that he could not answer questions that were matters that had been discussed in closed session, because of “attorney client privilege.”

We are glad that Currituck County has brought the efficacy of these alternative energy projects to public attention. Too bad for Pasquotank County, that our interests are not being similarly protected.

Hopefully, our state legislature will take affirmative action to eliminate taxpayer-paid incentives, which flow easily to developers of these alternative energy projects, and to do so in short order.

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