On March 14, the House Ways & Means Committee’s Subcommittee on Tax Policy held a hearing titled: Post Tax Reform Evaluation of Recently Expired Tax Provisions. The hearing featured four separate panels to provide a forum for sector representatives to discuss and defend the need for continuing targeted tax provisions also known as “tax extenders.” The budget deal enacted in early February extended retroactive to 2016 a package of tax provisions (including the Sec. 25C wood and pellet stove credit), but only through 2017—meaning that these provisions have already expired. Full Committee Chairman Kevin Brady has made it clear that he does not support tax extenders, but these provisions have a broad constituency and enjoy support from individual committee members. The hearing was billed as the first step in determining which of these tax extenders have merit and which should be continued and those that could be targeted for elimination.
Since the BTU Act has not been enacted, it is not an extender and therefore was not referenced at this hearing. However, BTEC has tried repeatedly to attach the BTU Act provisions to tax extenders packages over the last several years. Our current focus is on the omnibus bill FY 2018 appropriations bill that is being developed for consideration next week. The current short term spending directive under which the government is currently operating expires March 23. It is unclear whether the omnibus will include tax provisions on which BTU Act language may ride, but our champions on the Hill are pushing leadership to include biomass thermal energy tax incentives if there is a tax title in the spending bill. Maine Governor LePage has sent a letter supporting enactment of the BTU Act to President Trump. A similar letter is in the process of being sent by New Hampshire Governor Sununu. Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin is also considering sending a BTU Act support letter to the administration.