Menendez Applauds Passage Of Legislation To Spur Renewable Energy, Provide Tax Relief For Middle Class

Menendez Applauds Passage Of Legislation To Spur Renewable Energy, Provide Tax Relief For Middle Class

Republicans had obstructed even stronger legislative package eight times

Washington - The U.S. Senate yesterday evening overwhelmingly passed legislation aimed at spurring renewable energy through a series of tax breaks and credits and providing a temporary fix to the Alternative Minimum Tax that unfairly forces middle class Americans to pay much higher taxes. The legislation also includes an extension for a property tax relief provision that was first proposed by Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) in 2006. Senator Menendez, who supported the legislation and helped push for solar power provisions in it, said the bill will help families both immediately and in the future.

"This is legislation to bring tax relief immediately and relief from high energy costs well into the future," said Senator Menendez. "If we are going to secure a low-cost, advanced energy future free from the shackles of oil, this is the type of legislation that is going to get us there. I am proud to have worked on this legislation and to have helped make sure solar power was a priority within it. It is unfortunate that Republicans stalled this bill eight separate times and forced the inclusion of another $8 billion dollar handout to their oil company buddies, but the type of energy that this legislation will spur is too important not to take action.

"This legislation is also vital for millions of middle class Americans who are already getting slammed in this bad economy and should not be subject to the unfair Alternative Minimum Tax. We want to make sure they will not pay exorbitant tax rates. Through this legislation, we will also ensure that taxpayers taking the standard deduction will continue to receive relief for the property taxes they pay. This was an idea I was proud to spearhead first in 2006, and it continues to be worthwhile as homeowners feel the squeeze in this economy."

The property tax deduction benefits homeowners who do not itemize on their Federal tax returns. Under the law, single-filing property taxpayers will be able to take an additional standard deduction of $500 and joint filers will be able to deduct $1,000 for state and local property taxes paid. According to the New Jersey Department of Taxation, nearly 600,000 New Jersey residents will benefit from the initiative.

The legislative package, which passed in a 93-2 vote, is a fully offset energy package that extends credits for wind, solar and other technologies. It also supports an array of other technologies, such as plug-in hybrid cars. It includes a one-year extension of the production tax credit for wind and geothermal power, and it adds eight years to the investment tax credit for commercial solar projects. Residential solar tax credits are extended for two years, and a $2,000 annual credit cap is removed.

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