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Sunday, February 24, 2013

The O uncovers windmill tax credit stinker

You can argue about tax giveaways for "green" this-and-that, but just about everybody would agree that the companies that reap the benefit of those subsidy programs should be required to cross all the T's and dot all the I's required to get the handouts. In the case of a huge windmill project out in eastern Oregon, from all appearances that wasn't done -- quite the contrary -- as our friend Ted Sickinger of the O reveals here. His exposé shows that three $10 million tax credits were approved for a single project that appears to have deserved only one.

"Because of this information, we do need to revisit this one," said Kyleen Stone, deputy director at the Energy Department. "We are going to do some work and actually legitimately look at it and review our determinations. We need some time to review all the facts."

Translation: "Okay, you busted us."

Innocent mistake, or active scam by the state bureaucrats? Remember, this is the Oregon Energy Department, the people who brought us Cylviagate. That bureau is nothing but trouble, and if we had to bet, we'd put money on active scam.

Kudos to Sickinger, one of a small handful of real journalists left in Portlandia. It's probably worth subscribing to the dead tree paper just to keep that guy from jumping over to government flackdom.

Comments (11)

People should also realize these tax credits will get used. They can be sold and used at face value to another company.

I'm sure the mgmt of many a dying green company has used this to generate last bonuses.

It would be nice to see one criminal prosecution re: stealing taxpayer dollars for supposedly "sustainable" projects.

The sad thing is we need great environmental protections and cleaner energy. To save our environment, we must spend our tax dollars wisely.

But special interests at BPS, Alta, PBOT and Metro are actually sabotaging real progress, and that is why this hippy tree hugger is going postal.

Sickinger, along with The O's editorial board and Harry Esteve, who originally reported on this story, fails to answer or even ask this simple question: who in the governor's office ordered DOE to deliberately lie to the legislature about projected energy tax credit benefits? Only Steve Duin asked the question, here: http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/steve_duin/index.ssf/2010/02/oregons_betc_debacle_nobodys_s.html

Maybe they should ask their new colleague, columnist Tim Nesbitt.

More likely, these folks are way over their heads in management and business skills. They are political appointees with some vague notion of "going green" but neither understand the technology or know how to do a proper cost/benefit analysis.

What they are good at is giving away tax payer money for projects that "feel good".

The real rip is that Oregon is supplying tax credits for electricity that goes to Southern California Edison. After construction, the $30 million equates to only 35 to 45 permanent jobs, There ought to be a way to tax that electricity or the transmission of that electricity when it crosses state lines so Oregon is not subsidizing California and can recoup the tax credits.

If you want some good entertainment as well as info on the wind turbine scams, we discovered an author while visiting Yellowstone and Glacier, C.J. Box. His novel "Cold Wind". The series is about a lowly game warden, who solves mysteries despite all the BS of Politics and corruption and having a postal friend. Not heavy duty reading, but Light and unfortunately too close to home and the headlines like a lot of the Law and Order episodes tend to be.

Everything Mamacita said.

The early books from C.J. Box are among the best light reading in print.

Tim nails it.

Speaking of political appointees in way over their heads, keep an eye on the new state-administered 'Cover Oregon' healthcare program.

Wow, TR, your numbers make me sad.

Thirty million buys a lot of parole officers and social workers.

Also, last time I looked, street repairs create decently-paid jobs for "Average Joes."

But no, start a non-profit capitalist enterprise, morph into three even less competent companies and you're in (non-productive) business.

Good work by the O indeed.

TR: I don't know if it balances out the costs the state has and will incur, but Morrow and Gilliam counties will receive $100 million in property tax revenue in the next 15 years from Shepherds Flat. Also, the landowners are receiving lease payments. Don't know what these amount to, but in other instances they have apparently been enough to make a real difference. See:

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