Company chosen as site for Obama’s speech left out of tax deal

Amanda Carey Contributor
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The company chosen as the site for President Obama’s speech last Friday on the economy lost out in the tax deal reached by the president and Republicans last month when an energy efficiency tax credit was not extended. While visiting the manufacturing facility for Thompson Creek Window Company in Landover, Md., the president spoke about the state of the economy and unemployment.

The provision of last month’s tax deal that hurt companies like Thompson Creek reduced a tax credit for homeowners who remodel their homes with energy-efficient windows and doors.

Created in the 2009 stimulus bill, the original credit allowed homeowners to receive a tax credit for 30 percent – up to $1,500 – of installing the windows. The deal last month, however, reduced the available credit to 10 percent, or $500.

When asked the reason for the reduction, a spokesperson for the House Ways and Means Committee said it was not part of some backroom compromise. The adjustment simply brought the credits back down to pre-stimulus levels.

At the time, the tax credits were touted as a way to help create jobs. According to President Obama’s speech Friday, it worked. “Thompson Creek grew from 200 employees in 208 to nearly 300 this year. It took advantage of the tax credits we put in place,” said the president.

However, that was before the credits were cut more than 50 percent. And now, critics say that because of the credit’s reduction, homeowners will no longer have an incentive to install energy efficient products in their homes. That’s bad news for Thompson Creek.

“It would be nice to have the whole $1,500, but at least we got something,” said Thompson Creek President Rick Wuest in an interview with The Daily Caller. He admitted that the timing of the president’s speech, in light of the tax deal last month, was “kind of ironic.”

Wuest told TheDC that he, along with other colleagues in the window’s industry, put together a letter writing campaign to their representatives in the House and Senate, asking for an extension of the credit. “But we’re going to work with $500,” said Wuest. “Would l like it to be $1,500? Absolutely.”

In response to the tax credit cut, Kateri Callahan, president of the Alliance to Save Energy, said, “We’re sorely disappointed that Congress did not see fit to make the incentives more generous. That would have increased their use by consumers, to the benefit of our economy, energy security, and environment.”

But Wuest is optimistic. At the urging of his colleagues, said Wuest, he asked the president about the tax credit. “From what he [Obama] told me, energy efficiency is up on the agenda,” said Wuest.