For a legislative session that was supposed to be full of hard choices, the Louisiana Legislature is doing a great job of not making them. The latest example is the solar tax credit.
One of the purposes of this session was to raise revenue and fix the budget as to prevent things like this happening again. One of the things that should’ve been a no-brainer was eliminating the solar tax credit. Solar continues to be unprofitable in the free-market and requires an 80% tax credit to compete.
Instead of eliminating this scam and protecting Louisiana taxpayers, the Legislature decided to “reform” the program. The solar industry to turned to State Rep. Erich Ponti (R-Baton Rouge) and he created HB 779, which was an industry backed bill to “reform” the tax credit before it expires in 2018. Oh and Ponti took $1,000 last year from the “green energy” crowd, but I suppose that doesn’t really matter now that Ponti just announced he’s not running for reelection.
— Greg Hilburn (@GregHilburn1) June 9, 2015
In this case, Ponti served his Posigen paymasters well. In his “reform” legislation, Ponti managed to put a cap on the leasing part of the tax credit only. Posigen and the other green energy types in the state either do both leasing and retail or just retail. This was a way for them to eliminate some of their competition from smaller companies.
The real solution here would’ve been to eliminate this tax credit altogether. This credit is nothing more than a corporate welfare scheme propping up an unprofitable source of energy. But just like the rest of the session, the Legislature refused to make the hard choice and do the right thing for the state.
Instead of that though, HB 779 has now passed both houses of the Legislature and is now heading to Governor Jindal’s desk where he will sign it.
Meanwhile, the solar scam continues in Louisiana for at least a few more years.