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Home Energy Tax Credits Extension Dies in the Senate
Mar 19, 2012
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Familiar partisan ideology appears to have been behind the failure of the U.S. Senate to extend tax credits to homeowners. The tax credits - currently expired - would have provided up to $500 per home for buying new energy efficient products.

Democrats and Republicans in the Senate both offered versions of amendments that would have extended the rebates through at least the end of 2012, according to the National Association of Home Builders, which submitted written testimony to Senate leaders intended to convince them to pass a rebate extension. NAHB estimates show that remodeling activity spurred by the tax credit in 2009 was associated with 278,000 full-time jobs.

NAHB reported that an amendment from Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) sought to extend the incentives through 2012, but the amendment but did not include an offset to pay for the credit. The amendment would also have extended the New Energy Efficient Home Tax Credit, which NAHB calls a critical energy efficiency tax credit and the only federal incentive available for efficiency in new home construction. The amendment fell on a vote of 49 to 49 (with 60 needed to pass).

NAHB reported that an amendment from Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) would also extend the credit as well as extend tax credits for the oil and gas industries. The amendment fell on a vote of 41 to 57, again with 60 needed to pass.

"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."

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