Weak oversight hurt BETC

Public-records investigations show that oversight may have caused the BETC to grow out of control.

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The Business Energy Tax Credit has been criticized for costing far more than expected. The credits cost $22 million in foregone taxes in 2003-2005, and could reach $374 million in 2009-2011.

And an investigation of public records shows that oversight within the Oregon Department of Energy may have caused the program to balloon.

Documents newly obtained through public-records requests show the manager responsible for the nation’s most aggressive renewable energy tax credit program was distracted by his own “volunteer” efforts in a Chinese energy business when lawmakers supercharged the Business Energy Tax Credit program in 2007.

Last fall, a team from the Oregon Department of Administrative Services conducted a four-month confidential review of the department. Its withering report completed Dec. 17 says the 113-employee Energy Department’s culture was characterized by “minimal oversight of managers and staff, ad hoc decision-making, fluid organizational boundaries, pliant or non-existing internal administrative policies, and a people-centric (internal) focus.

Read the full story at Willamette Week.

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