Energy Tax Reform

The U.S. Senate Finance Committee is in the throes of addressing major tax reform to include an overhaul of permanent and temporary energy tax incentives.

This tax reform effort is spurred by the earlier announcement of Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) that he will not seek re-election next year. Adding fuel to the fire is widespread speculation about who will replace him as Finance Committee chairman. A likely candidate is Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) who is a senior Finance Committee member but who currently chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Senators cannot chair more than one committee during their term in office. If he takes the helm of Finance, there exists the possibility that Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) will be handed the gavel on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

A particular focus of many Finance Committee members is to allow the clean energy and energy efficiency industries to establish master limited partnerships (MLPs) to attract investors, already available today to the coal, oil, gas and pipeline industries under existing law.

Another goal is to deal with the temporary tax incentives to promote renewable energy, efficiency and alternative fuels. Support is divided, with bipartisan backing from Senators representing wind states and opposition from fiscal conservative lawmakers who see them as budget busters.

Carol Connors (cconnor [@]