The Senate this week voted to defeat two energy-related proposals that would have extended the lapsed Existing Home Retrofit Tax Credit (25C), which provides consumers a tax credit of up to $500 for the purchase of qualifying energy-efficient products.
The amendments were offered as the chamber debated the $109 billion highway bill (S. 1813), which the Senate passed later in the week.
An amendment by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) would have extended the 25C tax incentives, which expired at the end of last year, through 2012 without providing an offset to pay for the credit. Stabenow’s amendment was defeated on a 49 to 49 vote.
Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) put forth a broader amendment to extend the 25C tax credit for one year and extend tax credits for the oil and gas industries, but his proposal fell by a 41 to 57 margin.
Under Senate rules, both amendments required a 60-vote threshold to achieve passage.
Prior to the votes on the Stabenow and Roberts amendments, NAHB weighed in forcefully on this matter in written testimony submitted to the Senate leadership.
“This tax credit has helped support the remodeling industry during a period in which new home sales experienced dramatic declines,” NAHB said. “To make it an effective incentive for 2012, action needs to be taken in the very near term. Middle-class taxpayers, who are the primary beneficiaries for energy tax incentives, are particularly unlikely to purchase a more expensive, energy efficient product on the expectation that Congress will extend a tax credit retroactively.”
Remodelers often leverage 25C tax incentives when working with clients. NAHB estimates that the remodeling activity generated by this tax credit in 2009 was associated with more than 278,000 full-time jobs.
The Stabenow amendment would also have extended another critical energy efficiency tax credit, the New Energy Efficient Home Tax Credit (45L). This is the only federal incentive available for efficiency in new home construction.
“Builders who normally utilize the 45L tax credit are faced with the difficult decision of whether to continue to offer the benefit of this credit to their customers without knowing if it will be extended,” the NAHB letter said. “This decision is even more difficult due to the ongoing housing downturn and extremely tight margins that most builders currently operate on.”
NAHB is continuing to urge lawmakers to extend these tax credits in a timely fashion.
For more information, email J.P. Delmore at NAHB or call him at 800-368-5242, x8412.
NAHB is urging all of our members to ask your Senators to co-sponsor S. 2148, the Lead Exposure Reduction Amendments Act of 2012.
We previously reported to you on the introduction of an important piece of legislation in the U.S. Senate that would make several necessary changes to the Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule while maintaining the original intent of the regulation to protect pregnant women and young children from exposure to lead paint.
The Lead Exposure Reduction Amendments Act of 2012 was introduced by Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.) on March 1. Among other improvements, the bill would restore the "Opt-Out" provision for homes in which no children under six or pregnant women reside. This modification would reduce unnecessary compliance costs to the tune of more than $336 million per year. The bill also addresses the lack of an EPA-approved lead test kit; click here for a one-page summary of what's included in S. 2148.
NAHB recently sent a Builder Alert requesting your assistance in urging your U.S. Senators to cosponsor this bill. If you haven't already done so, participating in our letter-writing campaign is very easy. Simply visit our website at: www.capitolconnect.com/BuilderLink.
At the above address, fill in the required information to ensure that your letter goes to the Senators who represent your state in Congress. Thank you for your efforts in helping to address the impracticality of the lead paint rule and in pushing forward common-sense, effective solutions to its compliance challenges. If you have any questions or feedback on this issue, please feel free to send them to: BuilderLink@nahb.org.