Legislative Update - Louisiana Solar Tax Credits hang In there

State Capital w tree

House Bill 705 by Erich Ponti is now the operative bill carrying Louisiana solar industry hopes for continuing the tax credits in the face of serious opposition from politicians who want to see the tax credit severely limited or eliminated. The tax credit has become popular since its inception in 2007 but the annual estimated lost state tax revenue has gotten the attention of fiscal hawks and those opposed to solar. Recognizing the political threat the Louisiana solar installers have been proactive in developing legislation that would keep the tax credits in place for a time but eventually phase them out.

The latest round in the debate was the hearing that occurred in Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Committee on May 23. Senator Robert Adley has been aggressive in his attempts to impose limits on the tax breaks and had threatened to remove eligibility for leasing of solar equipment. Such an amendment would have stopped a lot of installations in low income neighborhoods. He seems to have backed off on that threat for now but eligibility for the tax break for those living in apartment complexes has been eliminated in the current draft of legislation. Otherwise the tax credit continues essentially as is until Dec 31, 2016 and then phases out by end of 2018.

Senator Adlee appeared to be unhappy that there were not more limitations in the proposed legislation but the committee voted without objection favorable passage on to the Senate floor with the promise of more amendments to be proposed during Senate floor debate. This will be one to watch. It rarely happens that language in a bill is not decided before it reaches its second floor vote, this one having already passed the House.

Thanks to everyone for your calls to state legislators. We suggest people continue to call senators to ask that they support solar tax credits. Stay tuned for further developments.

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