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Advocacy and policy

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Tax vote brings good news for green building

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On Thursday, the Senate Finance Committee took an important move in advancing draft legislation that would renew a series of tax breaks that expired at the end of last year. The “Expiring Provisions Improvement Reform and Efficiency (EXPIRE) Act;” passed the committee on a voice vote. The EXPIRE Act includes a number of important elements that will continue to enhance the efficiency of the building industry, particularly to the existing Energy Efficiency Commercial Building Tax Deduction 179(D). The bill would extend the deduction for two years and expand the existing allocation provisions to non-profit organizations and tribal owners. It would also phase in updates for the commercial energy code in order to qualify for the deduction. These provisions, particularly the expansion of allocation options, will be of great use to community and non-profit development organizations. While this is welcome news USGBC and others will continue to work with the Finance Committee and Senators to enhance this provision along the lines of the commercial building provisions in S. 2189, the Energy Efficiency Tax Incentives Act. 

The bill also includes a two year extension of the following provisions: 

  • The 45(L) New and Efficient Homes Credit;
  • The New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC), which enhances economic development and community revitalization projects in distressed and blighted communities          
  • The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC),which relies on the power of market forces and private investment to enhance access to affordable housing, particularly green housing          
  • Parity for mass transit and parking benefits which is now expanded to cover bike sharing 

Additional information is available here. USGBC will be continuing to work with elected officials, real estate, workforce and environmental organization to advance portions of the EXPIRE Act. USGBC commends the members of the Committee who supported the bill and particularly Senators Cardin (MD), Bennet (CO), Warner (VA) and Portman (OH), who have been instrumental in advancing the extension and enhancement of 179(D).  This positive effort and a willingness in the House to review tax extenders just may give these important provisions a chance to get enacted. 

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Bryan Howard

Legislative Director

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Dutko Grayling
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