ATR Speaks Out Against Innappropriate Use of Massachusetts' Taxpayer Dollars

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Posted by Blake Springhetti on Wednesday, February 17th, 2016, 5:34 PM PERMALINK


Solar is already incredibly subsidized at both the federal and state level with preferential tax treatment. Over 20 states even mandate its utilities. Despite all of the propping up government already does for the industry, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources recently applied another layer of subsidies for solar with a new program that uses $30 million in taxpayer dollars to institute stop-loss guarantees for banks, interest rate buy-downs, and principal reductions that crowd out private lenders and increase taxpayer liabilities.

Today Americans for Tax Reform sent the following letter to Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, urging him to repeal or significantly reduce this unnecessary program: 

"On behalf of American for Tax Reform and our supporters across Massachusetts, I write today to thank you for defending Massachusetts taxpayers. After being slammed with more than 20 federal tax increases over the last six years, the last thing your constituents need is to be hit with more income-reducing tax hikes at the state level. With a legislature controlled by politicians who would like to raise taxes, you are the last line of defense for Bay State taxpayers.

I also write today to express strong opposition to the Department of Energy Resources’ (DOER) proposal to use $30 million in taxpayer dollars to further subsidize what is an already heavily subsidized solar industry.

In addition to principal reduction for borrowers and stop-loss guarantees for banks, this DOER program institutes interest rate buy-downs for residential solar installation loans, even for high-income households. There is no means-testing for this, so in addition to distorting the market and crowding out private lenders, this measure amounts to a transfer of wealth from low and middle income taxpayers to solar developers and upper income households who get to enjoy tax breaks for home improvements they would have made without such generous taxpayer subsidies.

The solar industry is already greatly subsidized at both the federal and state level through tax credits and property tax abatement. Applying another layer of taxpayer subsidies for solar is an ineffective and unwarranted use of taxpayer dollars. As such, I urge you to scrap this DOER program, or at least insist on a significant retooling that will mitigate taxpayer risk and liability."

Photo Credit: 
https://www.flickr.com/photos/bexwalton/

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