Gov. Mike Beebe Slams Congress as Nordex Stops Production

by Luke Jones  on Friday, Jun. 28, 2013 11:18 am  

"I'm so fed up with Congress," Mike Beebe said on Friday. (Photo by Mike Pirnique)

U.S. Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., was in favor of the text credit extension, but advocated for a temporary one. He voted for the fiscal cliff package that contained the extension.

On Friday, Boozman said businesses like those in the wind industry are "sensitive" to "uncertainty" in Washington.

"Tax credits such as the wind tax credit cannot go on forever, but there must be a longer term extension in place so that companies like Nordex and Mitsubishi can grow and put Arkansans to work," Boozman said. "I support the credit, have voted for the extensions, and would like to see the wind tax credit authorized for a longer time period to provide certainty to business owners. However, until we tackle major tax reform in Washington, this problem will exist."

Boozman was referring to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd.'s decision last year to suspend construction of a planned, $100 million wind turbine manufacturing plant in Fort Smith that was to have employed 400 people.

Frustration at Home

On Friday, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission also expressed frustration over last year's tax credit debate. Spokesman Joe Holmes said LM Wind Power, which built its $150 million North American headquarters in Little Rock in 2007, had also been uneasy about the future of the tax credit.

"They have struggled with a lot of the same issues," Holmes said. "Of course ,the main one is the uncertainty of the production tax credit which drives the wind industry. ... It's made it very difficult."

Falling oil prices didn't help either, Holmes said. But he thinks there is still hope for the wind industry in Arkansas.

"LM is a great company and we talk to them very often," he said. "We have a great desire to see these companies succeed, even if it takes longer than what we originally wished."

Still, if the tax credit remains uncertain, the industry may not survive.

"That's up to Washington," Holmes said. "That's up to Congress. That has been a tremendous issue for the wind industry. If Congress were to pass a multi-year credit, I don't now what would happen, but I think it would be positive. That doesn't seem to be the climate right now."

Beebe said it this way: "Congress is going to have to get off its duff."



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