Solid federal tax policy must promote energy-efficiency incentives

Two of Maine's energy policy leaders have teamed up to explain the connection between energy efficiency and sound fiscal policy. Richard Burbank, president of Evergreen Home Performance in Rockland, and Peter Troast, CEO of Energy Circle in Yarmouth, collaborated on a striking opinion piece in the Portland Press Herald last week.

"Energy policy has always been closely tied to the tax code," they explain. Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe has been Congress' champion for tax credits that incentivize energy-efficiency upgrades, and in her last days in the Senate, Snowe is leading the effort to shift the credit from a cost-based approach tied to specific measures -- like the installation of new windows, roofs and doors -- to one based on performance. In the reform legislation that Snowe, a Republican, has introduced, the tax credit would be available only for homeowners who accomplish real, measurable energy reductions.

Burbank and Troast applaud the shift, calling it "good tax policy. It is a direct investment in local businesses (which pay taxes); it increases the economic well-being of local families and communities (helping other local businesses stay strong); it diverts money from oil companies and overseas dictators, and it increases American energy independence."

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