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Stalled tax relief bill threatens biodiesel, wind

Agriculture.com Staff 09/30/2008 @ 7:09pm

Senator Chuck Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, said Tuesday that if Congress adjourns without passing a tax relief bill, it would be "catastrophe, because both wind and biodiesl are dependent on this being extended."

The tax bill, which also would prevent more Americans from being caught by the Alternative Minimum Tax when they file next April, contained several alternative energy tax breaks championed by Grassley. It extended a tax credit for wind energy through 2009, as well as a $1-per-gallon tax credit for biodiesel.

The House on Monday refused to take up the legislation, partly because conservative Blue Dog Democrats refused to support it unless more of the tax breaks were offset by spending cuts.

Grassley said he wasn't certain what the effect of not extending alternative energy tax credits beyond the end of this year would be. In 2004, a similar delay in extending the tax credits for wind shut down that industry for six months, he said, adding that he believes the industry is stronger today.

Grassley said that he would be surprised if members of the House of Representatives would want to go home to face voters in November without passing the so-called tax extender bill, since it also extends an exemption from the Alternative Minimum Tax. Without the extender, an estimated 23 million Americans would pay the AMT, Grassley said. That could cost some taxpayers making less than $200,000 an additional $2,000 in income taxes.

Senator Chuck Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, said Tuesday that if Congress adjourns without passing a tax relief bill, it would be "catastrophe, because both wind and biodiesl are dependent on this being extended."

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