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Category: Energy



  • First GOP Presidential Debate: Ten Issues the Candidates Must Address

    David Williams on August 5, 2015

    debate

    Here we go again.  Another election season is quickly approaching and the first sign of the 2016 election is the first debate.  On Thursday August 6, ten republicans will square off in the first of many debates in an attempt to win the hearts and minds of republican voters.  Thursday’s debate in Ohio will be the first (and certainly not the last time) for the presidential hopefuls to tell the voters why they should be the party’s nominee for President.  Even though the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) will not endorse anybody for President, we do have a Top Ten list of issues should be addressed by the candidates.

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  • TPA Releases New Report on Solar Subsidies

    Michi Iljazi on July 10, 2015

    report cover

    The Coming Green Bubble: New Report Exposes Parallels Between Big Solar Financing Schemes and Housing Meltdown

    Washington, D.C.—This week the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) released a brand new report about the heavily-subsidized solar industry titled, From Washington to Wall Street: How Government Policies are Skewing Solar Investments (click here). TPA concludes that Big Solar’s heavy reliance on risky financing schemes, combined with government handouts, is creating conditions that could generate a “bubble” in the solar market just as Washington policy produced the housing and financial collapse.  This report is another one in the series analyzing the impact of government solar subsidies and preferential treatment on taxpayers and consumers. The new report also contains a link (click here) that details the generous solar subsidies by state.

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  • TPA Releases New Report on Solar Subsidies

    Michi Iljazi on July 8, 2015

    report cover

    The Coming Green Bubble: New Report Exposes Parallels Between Big Solar Financing Schemes and Housing Meltdown

    Washington, D.C.—The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) released a brand new report about the heavily-subsidized solar industry titled, From Washington to Wall Street: How Government Policies are Skewing Solar Investments (click here). TPA concludes that Big Solar’s heavy reliance on risky financing schemes, combined with government handouts, is creating conditions that could generate a “bubble” in the solar market just as Washington policy produced the housing and financial collapse.  This report is another one in the series analyzing the impact of government solar subsidies and preferential treatment on taxpayers and consumers. The new report also contains a link (click here) that details the generous solar subsidies by state.

    » Read More
  • Corporate Tax Reform Could Give Energy Sector Big Boost

    Michi Iljazi on June 1, 2015

    rig

    Time is running out for this current session of Congress to address many issues.  While there has been some positive movement on important legislation dealing with trade and the budget, there are several issues outstanding that elected officials need to address before the end of the year. Corporate tax reform is one of the easiest and most important of the unresolved issues facing Congress. Tax reform is critical and corporate tax reform could be the key to unleashing a major boost in energy production. The United States has had the corporate tax rate the world since April 1, 2012. This is not something to be proud of and it is the reason businesses are fleeing the country at a disturbing pace.

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  • A Taxing Problem for John Kasich in Ohio

    David Williams on May 28, 2015

    kasich

    John Kasich was a member of Congress that conservatives could trust when it came to fiscal issues.  His co-sponsorship of the Penny/Kasich plan (named after former Democrat Tim Penny from Minnesota and John Kasich), which would have cut spending and eliminated the deficit, showed that he understood spending.  Unfortunately, his recent actions as Governor may be a sign that he may need a refresher course on tax policy. In February, Gov. Kasich delivered his fiscal year 2016 budget to the Ohio legislature. In the State of the State Address, he described the proposal as “a message to job creators around the state, around the country and around the globe that Ohio is open for business.” Unfortunately, the $5.2 billion increase in sales, commercial activity, and energy and tobacco taxes packaged in the plan is hardly a welcome mat for economic growth. Not surprisingly, the plan drew immediate and acute criticism.

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  • As Highway Funding Deadline Nears, Bipartisan Appetite for Tax Hikes Grows

    Michi Iljazi on May 8, 2015

    o

    The Highway Trust Fund (HTF) is set to run out of cash on May 31, 2015. Established nearly sixty years ago by the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956, the HTF is a federal fund for transportation projects and programs that derives money from the federal gas tax (18.3 cents per gallon on gasoline, 24.4 cents per gallon on diesel fuel, and other related excise taxes).   As Congress prepares to replenish the trust fund, some members of Congress (from both parties) are looking at options to raise taxes to keep the fund solvent.  A bad idea that would do little to solve America’s transportation problems. Last month, USA Today reported that Democrats in Congress and their union allies are fighting to pass a gas tax increase before the end of May. But it isn’t just Democrats, there is legislation in Congress introduced by Rep. James Renacci (R-Ohio) that, “would allow gas taxes to rise as high as necessary to cover funding shortfalls, unless Congress agrees to an alternative solution by the end of 2016.” Raising the federal gas tax is a copout. The truth is that Americans are not just paying 18.3 cents per gallon, there are also state taxes on gasoline that need to be taken into account.

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  • This Empire of the Sun Is Built on the Shifting Sands of Subsidies

    David Williams on April 23, 2015

    solar

    This article originally appeared in Townhall.com on April 14, 2015

    One can’t help but be impressed by the seemingly great strides solar energy has been making of late. Bullish reports abound of added capacity, aggressive expansion, technical advances and a solar jobs boom. Industry elites engage in bold financial maneuvers that would make Gordon Gekko proud. But don dark enough shades to see through the media-generated glare, and the picture looks less sunny -- and sometimes maybe a little shady. The boom -- some might even call it a “bubble” -- America’s solar energy industry is enjoying stems neither from overwhelming competitive-market success nor from long-promised technological breakthroughs that finally made solar a major player in the U.S. energy sector. On the contrary, Solar today remains a niche energy provider, generating just 0.6 percent of all U.S. electricity, despite nearly four decades of taxpayer generosity, government favoritism and pampered treatment. The sobering reality is that Big Solar’s day in the sun simply couldn’t be possible, and doesn’t appear economically sustainable, without continuous diversions of tax money, government assistance, energy portfolio carve-outs and utility cost-shifting schemes of various kinds. All are aimed at creating a “market” for solar that the industry apparently can’t establish on its own.

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  • Using Gloom and Doom to Sell Solar

    David Williams on April 7, 2015

    solar

    This article originally appeared in the Sierra Vista Herald on March 28, 2015

    Can gloom and doom be used to sell something as seemingly perky and positive as solar energy? Of course it can be, and it frequently is in Arizona, as solar companies try to scare potential customers into making hasty decisions on a rooftop solar purchase, lease or loan. At last, Arizona’s leaders are beginning to awaken to the dark side of Big Sun. If your friendly solar salesman promises to lock-in future electric bill increases at a fixed annual rate of 2.9 percent, for the duration of a 20-year rooftop solar lease, that might seem tempting, as compared to the 4.8 percent annual increases non-solar customers are likely to see in that same period. That nearly 2 percent difference represents a lot of potential savings over time. It’s one of the industry’s biggest selling points. But what if the salesman’s 4.8 percent prediction is way too high, based on historical trends? What if, confounding those predictions, future rate increases are significantly lower than the solar company estimates? That dramatically changes the equation. That makes the promised savings from such a system much harder to achieve.

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  • Oklahoma and Nevada Latest States to Fight Harmful EPA Regulations

    Michi Iljazi on April 6, 2015

    mccarthy
    EPA Adminstrator Gina McCarthy

    Last month the Taxpayers (Protection Alliance (TPA) wrote about legislation from Tennessee and West Virginia that would protect consumers and taxpayers from proposed 111(d) regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These new rules on greenhouse gases from existing power plants, which mandate a 30 percent cut in carbon emissions at fossil fuel-burning power plants by 2030, have become a de facto battle in the larger fight for federalism against federal agencies in recent years. The EPA wants to use the decades-old Clean Air Act as proxy authority to force states into compliance with the new rules, which would damage state and local economies with potential tax hikes.  State legislatures and governors around the country are acting to reclaim authority so that the EPA would be powerless in their attempts to enact what could potentially be an extremely damaging regulation for taxpayers and small businesses. Two states, Nevada and Oklahoma are the latest to offer legislation that would states to retain power, not the EPA.

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  • TPA Releases New Solar Subsidy Report Examining Threat to Taxpayers

    David Williams on April 3, 2015

    solar

    New Report: Big Solar’s “House of Cards”
    Subsidy-Based Business Model Jeopardizes Taxpayers

    Washington, D.C.—The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) released a brand new report this week regarding the heavily-subsidized solar industry titled, A House of Cards:  Solar Energy’s Subsidy-Based Business Model.  TPA concludes that Big Solar’s heavy reliance on government handouts threatens taxpayers with another Solyndra.  This report is another one in the series that measures the impact of government solar subsidies and preferential treatment on taxpayers and consumers. The renewable energy world was abuzz recently over news that the empty California office space once occupied by Solyndra, the most notorious of America’s green stimulus debacles, is now being leased by another rising star in the solar space, Elon Musk’s SolarCity.  This was heralded in industry circles as long-sought redemption—as proof that Big Solar finally is emerging from Solyndra’s shadow. “Big Solar cannot simply reoccupy Solyndra’s office space and declare victory without first making fundamental changes,” said David Williams, President of Taxpayers Protection Alliance.  “The American people and their elected representatives should have no faith that other Solyndras are not also poised to collapse like a house of cards.  Why should taxpayers have confidence in Big Solar when the same subsidy-based business model that created Solyndra continues to dominate an unprofitable industry?”

    Click 'read more' below to see the full release

     

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  • TPA Joins Coalition Urging Congressional Action on Renewable Fuel Standard

    Michi Iljazi on April 2, 2015

    ethanol

    Energy
    is an important issue to taxpayers and there is a great deal of cronyism going around and Taxpayers Protection Alliance has been a vocal critic of not just the corporate welfare to solar that has distorted the free market, but also the continued problems with renewable fuel reform and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The RFS is a “command and control mechanism that requires a certain level of ethanol to be blended into the nation’s transportation fuel supply.” The requirement for gasoline is 10 percent but the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is planning to increase the amount of ethanol blended into gasoline after a lengthy delay on a final decision. The RFS began in 2005 and it has been flawed policy all along, any directive by the EPA to expand it will only make a bad policy worse. Not only do businesses and consumers get hit, taxpayers are also directly impacted as the government's fleet of more than 600,000 owned or leased vehicles that guzzle more of the expensive fuel. TPA opposes the RFS and has been pushing for full repeal and just last week joined in an effort led by National Retail Federation, sending a letter to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce urging Congress to act.

    Click 'read more' below to the view the full letter

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  • TPA Releases New Solar Subsidy Report Examining Threat to Taxpayers

    David Williams on March 31, 2015

    solar

    New Report: Big Solar’s “House of Cards”
    Subsidy-Based Business Model Jeopardizes Taxpayers

    Washington, D.C.—The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) released a brand new report about the heavily-subsidized solar industry titled, A House of Cards: Solar Energy’s Subsidy-Based Business Model. TPA concludes that Big Solar’s heavy reliance on government handouts threatens taxpayers with another Solyndra. This report is another one in the series that measures the impact of government solar subsidies and preferential treatment on taxpayers and consumers. The renewable energy world was abuzz recently over news that the empty California office space once occupied by Solyndra, the most notorious of America’s green stimulus debacles, is now being leased by another rising star in the solar space, Elon Musk’s SolarCity. This was heralded in industry circles as long-sought redemption—as proof that Big Solar finally is emerging from Solyndra’s shadow. “Big Solar cannot simply reoccupy Solyndra’s office space and declare victory without first making fundamental changes,” said David Williams, President of Taxpayers Protection Alliance. “The American people and their elected representatives should have no faith that other Solyndras are not also poised to collapse like a house of cards. Why should taxpayers have confidence in Big Solar when the same subsidy-based business model that created Solyndra continues to dominate an unprofitable industry?”

    Click 'read more' below to see the full release

    » Read More
  • SolarCity and Solyndra: Redemption or Repeat?

    David Williams on March 19, 2015

    solar

    This article originally appeared in The Hill on March 18th, 2015

    The renewable energy world was abuzz a few weeks back over news that Elon Musk's SolarCity, the 800 pound gorilla of the residential rooftop solar business, is now leasing California office space formerly occupied by Solyndra, the most notorious of numerous “green stimulus” debacles.  It was seen in some industry circles as long-sought redemption—proof that Big Sun finally is emerging from Solyndra’s long shadow.  “Solar is moving on” was the message dominating Twitterworld as news of the move spread. But is solar moving on? Was Solyndra just an aberration? Or are new Solyndras—the Sons of Solyndra and Grandsons of Solyndra—still out there, just waiting to have the plug pulled? The same week that brought news of SolarCity’s symbolic move also brought news of its mounting losses, which continue despite infusions of tax dollars and other industry preferences that would seem to make profitability a cinch.  SolarCity reported a net loss of $141 million for the 4th quarter of 2014, despite a 52 percent increase in revenue, strong demand and clear dominance in the market.  That compared to a nearly $40 million loss during the same period in 2013.

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  • Don't Bet on Obama's Plan to Drill in the Atlantic

    Drew Johnson on March 16, 2015

    oil

    This article originally appeared in The Daily Caller on March 12, 2015

    President Obama’s energy policies have been a debacle since his first day in office. Now, with Americans dubious of his schemes after being burned by his war on coal, stifling environmental regulations, and refusal to allow the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, the president is pulling a new tactic from his bag of tricks in hopes of winning back public support: The old switcheroo. Last month, when the president announced his draconian new policies that would block the production of as much as 30 billion barrels of oil off the coast of Alaska and ban future generations from recovering an estimated 10 billion more sitting beneath Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, he included a trade-off meant to help American energy production efforts elsewhere. Or so it seemed. In his compromise, Obama promised to open up areas of the Atlantic coast from Virginia to Georgia to new opportunities for offshore oil and natural gas leasing … sometime between 2017 and 2022 … maybe. That same area had previously been approved for energy exploration before, but the president killed that plan in 2010. There’s little reason to believe that any drilling will occur in the region this time around, either.

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  • Tennessee Should Look to West Virginia on How to Bypass Harmful EPA Regulations

    David Williams on March 6, 2015

    epa
    Environmental Protection Agency HQ (Washington, D.C.)

    States are often burdened by the federal government with crippling regulations that usually come in any number of disguises, including public health and safety. Newly-proposed 111(d) regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding greenhouse gases from existing power plants are the new battleground for states’ rights.  The regulation would use the outdated Clean Air Act in order to force states into compliance with the new rules, in turn harming local economies through potential tax increases.  This has spurred action by state legislatures and governors who knew that if they didn’t act, these regulations could be damaging to taxpayers statewide. Last week, West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin (D) showed his leadership by signing HB 2004, which would shift authority over submission of compliance plans with EPA regulations.  The legislation stated that, “The new bill, HB 2004, amends the existing law to make the DEP [Department of Environmental Protection], as a state agency, unable to submit the state's compliance plan to the EPA. Instead, the plan would first have to be submitted to the Legislature for approval.” Following in the footsteps of West Virginia, legislation introduced by Tennessee State Rep. Kelly Keisling (R), TN HB 0868, would ensure that any plans for compliance with the new EPA rules would be subject to approval of the state legislature. In short, Tennessee would have more authority on how they implement energy policy, not the EPA.

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  • Is Big Sun Losing Some Shine?

    Sean Paige on January 16, 2015

    solar

    This ariticle appeared in Inside Sources on January 12, 2015

    Sean Paige is a Senior Fellow with TPA.
    The sun-kissed state of Arizona seems an obvious place for the solar energy craze to really catch fire, which to some extent it has. But Arizona’s also a good place to see the potential shadier side of the solar industry in action, as companies jockey to cash-in and carve out a slice of the pie, with the help of generous taxpayer subsidies and government-mandated markets. Perhaps it’s not surprising, then, that Arizona’s also where some of the shine may be coming off solar, as watchdogs begin asking questions about how the industry is operating. It’s no doubt been a sweet and easy ride for solar energy in recent years, given the political favoritism and fawning media treatment that almost always casts it in warm and positive light. It’s hard to pick-up a paper or surf news sites without reading or seeing some breathless account of solar’s latest breakthrough. Some media cheerleaders even have taken to calling 2015 the “Year of Solar Energy” (as long as the subsidies and mandated-markets don’t go away).

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  • New TPA Website Highlights Solar Panel Leasing Scheme

    Michi Iljazi on January 9, 2015

    solarsecrets

    Last year, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) launched a new website, SolarSecrets.org,  The site was created to help average Americans keep solar power in perspective. We want the industry to fulfill its promise without picking all our pockets along the way. We’re here to help keep the solar industry and its growing lobbying army honest, by telling some hard truths about the hidden costs, market impacts, technical limitations and occasionally shady side of this highly-touted technology.  Arizona and California have become prime battlegrounds in this fight, but the subsidies are sure to spread across the country. This battle will not be fought by us alone, it will be fought by all taxpayers and Americans who want to keep a watchful eye on the solar power industry.  We want everybody to visit the ‘Take Action’ page on Solar Secrets to urge members of Congress to contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to investigate these solar panel companies that are getting rich off of taxpayers.  This will be the first step in bringing much-needed oversight to the industry.

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  • Senate Begins 2015 With Keystone XL Pipeline Legislation

    Michi Iljazi on January 6, 2015

    keystone

    Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has vowed that the passage of the Keystone XL pipeline will be one of the first Senate votes in the 114th Congress.  This is good news because the project has been delayed for several years by the Obama administration and the Democrat-controlled Senate.  According to Politico, “Sen. John Hoeven will officially file legislation on Tuesday to authorize the Keystone XL pipeline, with West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin as his new main Democratic co-sponsor.” This is good news for the U.S. economy and all Americans. The proposed construction of the pipeline provides the capacity to move more than 700,000 barrels of oil each day. The increased production would provide thousands of jobs and help lower energy costs for working families nationwide

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  • TPA's New Year's Resolutions for 2015!

    David Williams and Michi Iljazi on December 31, 2014

    nye

    The New Year is upon us and it’s time for millions of Americans to make their resolutions for the New Year.  Many folks vow to lose weight by eating a healthier diet and going to the gym.  In a twist on that time-honored tradition, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) is urging Congress to get it’s fiscal health back in shape.  We put together a list of our own resolutions for Washington and those politicians who will soon be returning for a new Congressional session.

    Click 'read more' below to see the full list of 2015 New Years resolutions!

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  • TPA Joins Coalition Urging Support of the RASP Act

    Michi Iljazi on December 26, 2014

    epa

    The Taxpayers Protection Alliance has been a consistent critic of the expansion of regulatory power under various federal agencies. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Federal Election Commission (FEC), and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) are just two examples where this has been an issue. However, one agency that has been a standout in using the power of regulations in order to bypass Congress is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Earlier this month, in an effort led by Americans for Prosperity, TPA joined a wide range of groups at the state and federal level sending a coalition letter urging state legislators to fight the EPA's new regulations designed to bring harmful anti-energy policies into the states by supporting the Reliable, Affordable and Safe Power (RASP) Act. The resolution would help fight the EPA on their bltant regulatory power grabs harming state economies. 

    Click 'read more' below to read the full letter » Read More
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