Blowing in the wind

The new tax legislation advertises tax breaks and lower taxes. But there are currently provisions in the Senate version that would raise some taxes and potentially raise electric rates and bills for all Texans. One provision would retroactively raise taxes by reducing the production tax credit (PTC) on wind power projects.

With Texas being the state with the highest amount of wind power in the United States, the net effect of this provision would be increases in the price of wind power, even retroactively. While the annual average for wind power in Texas is now about 13 percent, on one day about two years ago (Dec. 20, 2015) wind provided 45 percent of the electricity for all of Texas. So this particular “tax decrease” in the Senate version would actually increase your electric bills.

What’s more, this law would discourage funding for future wind farms in Texas and the rest of the United States, resulting in long-term higher prices since the electric companies still have to make enough electricity for the growth that is happening in Texas. So those coal-fired power plants that were supposed to close? Maybe not. And they produce higher-priced electricity. And there are other provisions in the Senate bill that would reduce incentives to invest in solar photovoltaic systems. So some of those announced systems in Texas just might not happen.

If the new tax law keeps some of these provisions, the “tax cut” to Texans will increase electric rates. Hopefully when the House and Senate come up with a final bill for the president to sign, it won’t hike our electric rates.

Bill Stein, Association of Energy Engineers Fellow, Waco

How about a fair tax?

Make no mistake. The new tax bill now being refined in conference committee is tax change of the swamp, by the swamp and for the swamp. The best plan remains the FAIRtax bill as suitable tax policy of the people, by the people and for the people.

Real leaders must address the root causes of bad taxation. They are taxing production instead of consumption plus direct taxation enabled by the 16th Amendment. Learn more at bigsolution.org.

Paul Livingston, FAIRtax volunteer, Jacksonville, Florida

Champion of truth

Veteran Trib staff writer Tommy Witherspoon has done a commendable job in reporting on the first of the Twin Peaks biker trials, specifically the trial of Dallas Bandidos president Jake Carrizal that ended in a mistrial last month. Tommy’s writing never leaves me with any hint of personal position or bias — just objective truth, clearly stated. I greatly appreciate his coverage and style.

This is refreshing compared to the unreasoned, emotional advocacy “reporting” today in print and broadcast media. Please let him know that he has a big admirer out there. Then give him a raise!

Lee Harkins, Hillsboro