Marten Law: Oregon Legislature Limits Energy Tax Credits, But Leaves Program Intact

Marten Law: Oregon Legislature Limits Energy Tax Credits, But Leaves Program Intact

   By Adam D. Orford.

"Since 2007, Oregon's popular Business Energy Tax Credit (BETC) has earned the state an enviable reputation as a leader in renewable energy, particularly wind energy," writes Adam Orford. "But the ballooning costs of the tax credit program, combined with a national recession, caused the state legislature this year to take a careful look at whether the state is getting its money's worth from the program. In the final days of its February special session, the Oregon legislature passed a bill which places clear limits on total outlays for the program, and tightens up eligibility criteria."

Orford, an associate with Marten Law PLLC, explains that "BETC (pronounced 'Betsy') is a non-refundable credit against Oregon state personal and corporate income taxes. Generally taken over five years, it is measured as a percentage of the 'certified cost' of a wide variety of energy-related projects. A 'pass-through' program allows the credit to be purchased and transferred."

Orford provides an outline of BETC and then explains why significant changes were needed in the tax credit this year. He details those changes and when they will take effect.

"For the last three years, Oregon has provided unparalleled financial incentives to wind, solar, biomass and other renewable energy projects. Although significant problems were uncovered in the BETC program, the new reforms largely address them, while leaving the core of the program intact. Wind power has benefited greatly from the prior program, but the state is now shifting tax credit incentives to encourage other alternatives," Orford concludes.

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Adam Orford earned his J.D. from Columbia University School of Law, where he was a Stone Scholar, and served as Editor-in-Chief of the Columbia Journal of Environmental Law.

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