Cantwell Helps Secure Important Tax Wins in End-of-Year Spending Package

Legislation extends critical tax credits for renewable energy, Washington state economic development; New Market Tax Credit has invested $2.4 billion in Washington state since 2003

WASHINGTON, D.C. – After months of bipartisan negotiations, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) applauded the inclusion of critical tax provisions for Washington state’s economy, renewable energy development, and investment in communities throughout the state in the end-of-year appropriations bills unveiled by congressional leaders early this morning. Cantwell was one of the key negotiators of the bipartisan, bicameral package.

“These tax credit provisions are so important for many small businesses and industries that support families, help revitalize economic depressed communities, and invest in those that are underserved,” Senator Cantwell said. “Small businesses and families don't have people running through the halls of Congress to lobby for them, but they deserve the tax certainty and predictability this legislation will deliver.”

The appropriations bills include the extension of a number of critical tax credits that support small businesses and invest in communities throughout Washington state:

  • New Markets Tax Credit – increases the funding for investment in low-income communities from $3.5 billion to $5 billion and extends the credit through 2020. Between 2003 and 2019, the New Markets Tax Credit invested $2.4 billion in projects throughout Washington state, including more than $50 million each in 12 counties across the state; helped create more than 26,000 jobs; and provided funding for 130 projects across the state, including:
    • $10.5 million in financing for the Kalispel Tribe Wastewater Treatment And Buffalo Preserve;
    • $13 million for HopeWorks Station in Everett;
    • $16.7 million for the Clark County Family YMCA in Vancouver;
    • $29 million for Eastside Community Center in Tacoma;
    • $13.6 million for Northwest Harvest, the only statewide hunger relief agency in Washington;
    • $25.9 million for the Bullitt Center in Seattle;
    • And many more.
  • Beer, Wine, and Distilled Spirits Tax Credit – extends the credit, which provides tax relief to craft beer brewers, cider makers, vintners, and distillers by cutting federal taxes from $13.50 to $2.70 on the first 100,000 proof gallons sold, through 2020.
  • Medical Expense Deduction – extends the medical expense deduction through 2020. The medical expense deduction allows Americans with medical expenses exceeding 7.5% of their adjusted gross income to deduct these expenses from their taxes. More than 200,000 Washingtonians rely on the medical expense deduction to lower their health care costs. Senator Cantwell led a bipartisan push to extend this deduction last week.
  • Work Opportunity Tax Credit – extends the credit through 2020. This credit helps people who face significant barriers to employment, including veterans, SNAP recipients, and previously incarcerated people, find employment by providing up to $2,400 in credits to businesses who hire certified individuals. In 2013, Washington had over 26,000 individuals certified with the tax credit, helping them find employment and saving the state a total of $42 million.

Cantwell also successfully pushed for the extension of a number of other tax incentives that help reduce fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions, including:

  • Biofuel incentives – extends the $1 per gallon credit for environmentally-friendly biodiesel through 2022. In Washington state, this credit benefits biofuel production facilities in Grays Harbor and Cherry Point. The package also includes a 46 cent per gallon credit for advanced biofuels produced from algae and cellulosic feedstocks. 
  • Renewable energy incentives – extends the wind energy tax credit for an additional year, as well as other federal incentives crucial for the development of clean energy alternatives, such as biomass, geothermal, incremental hydro, and marine and hydrokinetic energy.
  • Energy efficiency incentives – revives credits for residential and commercial energy efficiency improvements that had expired in 2018. 

Senator Cantwell has long supported tax credits for investment in renewable energy and economic development. Earlier this month, as negotiations to extend the provisions were ongoing, she spoke on the Senate floor to push for their extension. Cantwell has also worked with Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) to promote biodiesels and extend the tax credit.

The spending package was passed by the U.S. House today and is expected to be voted on by the Senate in the coming days.