Tax breaks reigned in

Gov. Ted Kulongoski signs a bill placing limits on the costly Business Energy Tax Credit.

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Gov. Ted Kulongoski signed a bill to place limits on the controversial Business Energy Tax Credit, after vetoing a similar bill last year.

The bill is designed to save the state’s general fund about $140 million over the next three years. The bill phases out tax incentives for large wind farms and gives the state more authority in rejecting applications, among other changes.

“The legislation is a win for Oregon taxpayers and for Oregon’s economy,” Kulongoski said in a statement after approving House Bill 3680. The bill, passed during the special February legislative session, lays out a long list of new ground rules for Oregon’s unique Business Energy Tax Credit program.

For years, Oregon has offered renewable energy companies tax credits worth up to $10 million for wind farms and other renewable energy projects and $20 million for plants that produce solar energy components. The cost of the program skyrocketed, however, as hundreds of companies took advantage of loose regulations that allowed some to obtain multiple subsidies and others to claim tax credits without saving any energy.

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