The Oregonian: “State officials deliberately underestimated the cost … to lure green energy companies to Oregon with big taxpayer subsidies, resulting in a program that cost 40 times more than unsuspecting lawmakers were told…”
Washington, DC – According to a recent Oregonian investigative report, state government officials in Oregon intentionally misled the legislature by withholding critical costs estimates of an extremely expensive ‘green’ energy subsidy program, known as the Business Energy Tax Credit, which would ultimately cost taxpayers millions more than the disclosed amount.
The Oregonian’s Harry Esteve reports this:
According to documents obtained under Oregon’s public records law, agency officials estimated in a Nov. 16, 2006, spreadsheet that expanding the [green energy] tax credits would cost taxpayers an additional $13 million in 2007-09. But after a series of scratch-outs and scribbled notes, a new spreadsheet pared the cost to $1.8 million. And when energy officials handed their final estimate to the Legislature in February 2007, they pegged the added cost at just $1.2 million for the first two years and $4.1 million for 2009-11.
The higher estimates were never shown to lawmakers. Current and former energy staffers acknowledged a clear attempt to minimize the cost of the subsidies.
Thomas J. Pyle, president of the non-partisan market-based Institute for Energy Research (IER), issued the following statement:
“Green jobs and green energy are simply not feasible without massive government subsidies, mandates and sometimes – as it appears in the case of Oregon – outright deception and dishonest acts. What was uncovered this weekend in Oregon is only the tip of the iceberg. Many rent seeking, corporate-welfare searching ‘green energy’ businesses seem more concerned with securing taxpayer-funded government handouts than producing jobs, dividends, growth, and reliable energy.
“Like Spain’s experience with green jobs, Oregon’s wind energy and other green jobs are temporary and simply would not exist if it weren’t for massive government subsidies and huge corporate handouts, bankrolled by hardworking everyday taxpayers.”
NOTE: Since 2007, when the Oregon legislature approved the governor’s massive Business Energy Tax Credit increase, unemployment has more than doubled, rising from 5 percent in January 2007, to 11.5 percent today.