Adam Putnam Says Energy Bill Opponents 'Lack Good Information'

By: Jim Turner | Posted: April 10, 2012 3:55 AM
With the much-anticipated energy bill sitting on Gov. Rick Scott’s desk pending approval, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said opposition to his legislation, which includes a coalition of Florida tea party groups, is “rooted in a lack of good information.”

Putnam defended the first comprehensive energy plan in the state since 2007 as one that replaces alternative-energy mandates with market-driven incentives while playing up Florida’s “natural competitive advantages.”

“We’re relying on the market to make decisions in this legislation, not picking winners and losers,” Putnam told reporters. “We are technology agnostic. We are not saying solar is better or biomass is better or wind is better. We’re saying if you spend real capital and put real bricks and mortar in the ground, and hire people, and actually are producing either renewable fuel or electricity, then you are eligible for a tax credit. It is not an upfront subsidy.

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“It is only after you have spent significant amounts of private capital that you have some tax credit for that renewable technology, whatever that technology may be,” Putnam added. “You have to prove to the marketplace that it will be successful and then you have to demonstrate it to be eligible for that credit.”

The credit would equal about 1 penny per kilowatt hour produced.

Last month a coalition of 86 tea party groups around Florida called on Gov. Rick Scott to veto four bills passed by the 2012 Legislature, including the splitting of University of South Florida-Polytechnic in Lakeland into a 12th state university, and Putnam’s energy bill.

In opposing the energy bill, HB 7117, the coalition declared: "We do not believe the government should be determining the marketplace for renewable-energy projects. This bill extends $16 million in renewable-energy tax credits, creates separate rules for electric vehicle recharging stations and mandates studies of the resources available to produce biomass energy."

On Thursday, the conservative Americans for Prosperity’s Florida chapter claimed the bill was the state picking "winners and losers" and announced it is also lobbying Scott to veto the energy bill.

“This misguided political ideology of picking winners and losers in the marketplace will undoubtedly continue its pattern of wasting taxpayer money by bankrolling politically-favored energy companies,” AFP-FL’s State Director Slade O’Brien stated in a release.

“It leads to crony capitalism and crony politics. We certainly don’t need a Solyndra-type boondoggle here in Florida. Subsidizing renewable-energy production will not only distort the marketplace but will actually drive the cost of energy up and undermine Florida’s rebounding economy.”

Putnam’s energy bill, considered more realistic than prior efforts, would expand renewable-energy production tax credits and allow local governments to use discretionary sales tax revenue to assist homeowners who make energy-efficiency improvements.

The legislation also streamlines the permitting process for bio-fuel feedstock crops and allows retail dealers to sell unblended gasoline, which is desired by the boating industry.

The bill, mediated in both chambers, is the first comprehensive energy plan to be approved by the Legislature since former Gov. Charlie Crist introduced a plan in 2007 that called for sweeping reforms. Many of Crist’s proposals have since remained dormant or required repeal.

Scott has until April 14 to act on the bill.

Reach Jim Turner at jturner@sunshinestatenews.com or at (772) 215-9889.

Comments (10)

2:59PM APR 17TH 2012
Where you are wrong sir is we understand you and do not support your initiatives including trying to grant amnesty to illegal alien fruit pickers.
Kathy Bolam
2:55PM APR 10TH 2012
Adam Putnam shows a disregard for the fundamentals of our Constitution. Even though this is a state sponsored bill, it should still be in line with republican constitutional principles. Giving credits or subsidies to private enterprise is pure socialism (totalitarism). Mr. Putnam needs to take Mike Bardnarik's Constitution course which is available FREE on line in order to understand private property. Our money is our private property and when government takes it to give to others, that's redistribution of wealth or socialism. Mr. Putnam, go back to the farm. You are acting as a representative of the United Nations program, Agenda 21 and we want no part of it.
David Kesselring
12:54PM APR 10TH 2012
If you give a tax break to only one group, you are manipulating the market. How has government manipulation of the market worked out so far?
I say give an across-the-board tax credit to all business and fund it by cutting spending. If they want to give green energy a tax credit let it be part of a tax credit for all businesses. The taxpayer's only pay for a tax credit, if taxes are raised in another area.
10:20AM APR 10TH 2012
Mr Putnam is a globalist and A21 believer.
Tax credits ARE subsidies. WE must make up the difference.
SRQ's local option sales tax is supposed to be used for roads.
Of course, it's gasoline taxes that were supposed to be used for roads.
1:34PM APR 10TH 2012
Oh my, the Agenda 21 conspiracy label. Oh horrors! A believer in science, what a monstrosity, what an anti-American horrible person!

You know, I might actually support some of your views on the subsidy issue, but I can get past the demonizing. Losing your message over your demonizing vitriol.
Real conservative
10:10AM APR 10TH 2012
Why, with a welfare state exploding every day - and baby after baby born into single parent welfare homes continue on..and Medicaid spending nearly sending us bankrupt, and the Fed inventing money out of thin air, and our debt exploding daily, does the Tea Party waste its time on this stuff?

If you read what Putnam said, there is no correlation between this and Solindra. That was a federal loan program for a private business - something the government has no business doing. This is a tax credit for something actually produced. Much like the manufactures tax credit to incentivize domestic manufacturing. Tax credits are a conservative alternative to mandates - it was tried and true with Ronald Reagan with all sorts of programs.

This just seems like this "tea party" group - and I don't know if they are real or fake - has some other hidden agenda, because attacking this is a ridiculous waste of everyone's time. Rome is burning all around us and these guys are fiddling with nit-picky stuff for what? To attack Adam Putnam?
11:27AM APR 10TH 2012
Who pays for the tax credits? Where does that money come from? If not from those who pay taxes then whom? You are correct, it has nothing to do with Solandra but were are the solar panels manufactured? Where are the parts for the windmills made?

Someone makes up the difference here and that someone is those who work and cannot afford to participate in the program. Therefore we subsidize those who can.
Real conservative
11:57AM APR 10TH 2012
Who pays for the domestic manufacturers tax credit? Who pays for the oil and gas equipment depreciation tax credit, the farm equipment tax credit? Answer: taxpayers. But they do so because we as a country have decided that is more important to incentivize manufacturing and growing food at home more than abroad. Same with domestic oil production, so we produce more oil and gas and become more energy independent. Its in the nations interest to incentivize these because jobs are created and we don't have an even worse trade imbalance with the Saudis and the Chinese.

Tax credits are the Conservative Republican approach to foster good public policy. People who oppose tax credits just to oppose them are foolish, and uneducated on how business works. These tax credits appear to be promoting energy independence. And for a penny per energy KW created you get all wired up? Its what my father used to call majoring in the minors.
John Paul Jones
1:10PM APR 10TH 2012
I think I'm with you on this one. I haven't seen all of the language in the bill but the description seems reasonable. I think it would be great if we could really have a FREE MARKET without any government interference but that's not going to happen in the near term. Since government already takes so much I see it as a good thing to offer some of it back to those who invest their capital and produce something that proves to be effective and marketable. It's much better than the liberal practice of government deciding for themselves what the right way for everyone is and then forcing it upon us whether it works or not. The devil is always in the details on how the policy is implemented so we'll see how it works.
8:08AM APR 10TH 2012
Putnam is beginning to sound like a Democrat when he states that "Lack Good Information." According to whom? When you disagree with Democrats they always use the same tired statement that people who are opposed are not informed.

Try telling that to the last group who took the state up on their offer and spent thousands of dollars to convert their homes to solar only to have the paperwork lost or the funds depleted.

The fact is that when government decides to give away taxpayer money to benefit chosen businesses they are in fact picking winners and losers. When you offer taxpayer's money you are actually driving the prices of those items up. Supply and demand no longer applies.

Personally, I would rather have those tax dollars go where they belong, to our county clerks, our universities, our public schools, our public employees not to line the pockets of an industry that cannot make it on it's own. Certainly not to manufactures of solar panels in China.

Commissioner Putnam, just because you won and election does not mean they voted you smartest person in the room. Using the Democrat mantra against informed conservatives is not only wrong, it means that you are the one who is uninformed. We are smarter than you think and if you would talk to us rather than talk down to us you would see that is in fact the case.

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