Solar deal in budget draws criticism

Solar deal in budget draws criticism

The last-minute solar deal in California’s general budget that would extend a property tax for solar credits has attracted criticism from several lawmakers, analysts as well as residents.

While the current tax benefit will not expire until 2017, the new measure (SB871) would credit for the solar industry through 2024. The measure was never heard by a regular policy committee of the legislature and the public received little chance to provide feedback as the Democrat-controlled legislature passed it as part of the spending plan last week.

Many opponents argued that solar industry should not get new benefits as it already performing better than many other industries in the field of renewable energy. Some opponents said that the measure was included in the budget at the last minute to court Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk, who has plans to build a new battery factory. California lawmakers want Tesla to build its new factory in California as it will generate more than 6,000 jobs and provide a boost to the economy.

But, Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) claimed that the solar measure wasn’t included in the budget to court Musk’s favor. In response to the criticism, he said, “That would be a very clever idea, but that was not in my mind at all.”

Mr. Leno, the chairman of the Senate budget committee, also claimed that he wanted the measure to go through the normal budget process, but he was forced to create a separate bill at the eleventh hour after regular budget committee failed to take up the measure.

H.D. Palmer, spokesperson for the Department of Finance, said the controversial measure wasn’t tabled by Governor Jerry Brown’s administration, but it was supported by the administration.

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