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Monday, January 30, 2012

Tax merry-go-round ride went nowhere

We wondered a while back what was the point of the state selling off general tax credits at auction, to pay for energy projects. It would just shift money from the general tax pool and shift it over to "green" this and that -- why waste time with a tax credit auction? You could just as easily have just transferred the funds within the state budget.

A reader who's been following this exercise has picked up a report from the state bureaucrats on how the program "worked." The report is here. Apparently someone out there was willing to pay slightly over face value for the credits -- perhaps because the buyer could use them immediately against quarterly tax obligations, rather than waiting until his or her annual tax bill is due. But the state sold only $461,000 of the credits, when the original plan was for $1.1 million.

It's still hard to understand how anybody thought this was a good idea. But apparently, they'll do it again next year. And since a lot of credits went unsold this time, it seems likely that no one will be bidding more than face amount next time.

Comments (3)

If it doesn't make sense and they keep doing it, someone must be making money off it somewhere.

Some of Portland City Hall's bean-counters recently resigned, didn't they? Guess we know where they landed; moving numbers around to hide the ball and pay for pet projects is a Portland specialty. They're probably right now as we speak figuring out how they can use federal food stamp money to build the Barbur Blvd. light rail.

Didn't the city attorney recently resign as well, or am I mistaken?

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