It’s time for tough love on tax credits for the mature wind industry

Commentary by Marita Noon - Is the lame duck Congress oblivious to the message voters sent to Washington last month? Or, are they intentionally ignoring it in favor of special interests? A pending vote on a tax-extenders package—that would have a slim chance of passage in the new Congress—will reveal whether or not they learned anything from the 2014 midterms.
      Throughout 2014, since the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for the wind energy industry expired on December 31, 2013, lobbyists from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) have pushed Congress to vote to retroactively revive the PTC. So far, sound fiscal thinking has prevailed. The lame duck session provides their last opportunity to hand over hard-earned American tax dollars to big business, and pile national debt on future generations.
      The PTC provides one of the best examples of the worst kind of taxpayer waste being considered in a tax-extenders deal. The largest benefactors of the credit (underwritten by U.S. taxpayers) are wind energy turbine manufacturers like General Electric (which purchased Enron’s wind turbine business in 2002), and investors like Warren Buffet, who, without apology, recently admitted: “We get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.”
      The U.S. wind energy business started as a gleam in Enron’s eye, enjoyed an entitled childhood at taxpayer expense, and, by now, should have blossomed into an adult. Instead, now, at the tail end of this Congressional session, the industry—by way of AWEA lobbyists—has its hand out for a ninth round of “free” taxpayer money. These dollars, which get transferred from hard-working taxpayers to big corporations and billionaires, are borrowed from our children, with the paper being sold overseas in what is known as “national debt.”
      For this lame duck Congress, AWEA’s panhandling should be as welcome as grown children returning home for financial support—“just one more time.” Like parents, possessing the kind of wisdom that often only crystalizes in our fifties, Congress must now realize the inevitable: sometimes seeing our dependents grow up to be independent requires tough love and a line in the sand. Though it is hard, most parents know saying “no” is part of the process of having children that grow into mature, responsible adults. Read full column

The Pit renamed WisePies Arena

From - by: Elizabeth Reed - The Pit will now be known as WisePies Arena (aka The Pit), the UNM Athletics Department announced Monday. WisePies Pizza & Salad, a locally owned business, has agreed to give $5 million over 10 years to support the Athletics Department through the newly established WisePies Fund.
       It's the largest cash gift ever to the department and the sixth largest cash gift overall to the university, according to a press release. The funds will be used to support The Pit debt service incurred from the 2009-2010 renovations.
       "From the time we first discussed the potential renovation of The Pit, we talked about the need for state and private support to make the renovation a reality," said Paul Krebs, Vice President for Athletics for the University of New Mexico, in a statement. "Specifically, we've talked about the need to find a naming rights partner for the building. 
      The fact that WisePies is a local company and Steve Chavez, the company's co-CEO, is a native New Mexican and successful, local businessman makes this gift even more significant and special."
      The naming deal is half of what UNM initially sought. In 2013, the asking price was $10 million over 20 years. More