Window Tax Credits Could be Part of Obama Deal

December 7, 2010

Tax credits for energy efficient home upgrades are part of the agreement reached between Congressional Republicans and President Obama to extend the Bush tax cuts, reports David Walker, vice president of the Window & Door Dealers Alliance. Based on conversations with Senate staff members supporting such measures, he says, “there is reason for optimism," but no guarantee that the final bill passed by Congress will include such provisions.

“We expect that 'the smaller stuff,' like the efficiency tax credit extensions, will likely be included in whatever larger bill is negotiated, but it’s impossible to say for sure,” Walker states. “A bill introduced by Senate Finance Chair Max Baucus (D-Mont.) at the end of last week was sort of a marker for Democrats and the starting point for negotiations. We were glad to see that the 25c extension for efficiency improvements extended as part of that legislation.”

Also supporting the Baucus proposal is the Window & Door Manufacturers Association, which sent out an alert to its members on Monday urging them to contact their senators. In addition to extending the 25c credits for windows, doors and skylights, the Baucus proposal also switches the qualifying criteria to 2010 Energy Star for products purchased in 2011, WDMA officials note.

WDDA's Walker suggests that the criteria for products to qualify is still very much up in the air, but could be different than what was in place in 2009 and 2010. Among those in Congress pushing for this legislation, he explains, some favor an extension of .30/.30 criteria, others prefer Energy Star, and there are also strong supporters of the criteria established with the Department of Energy’s R-5 program. “With the amount of money available for the program limited, some in Congress want to see it focused on advancing the technology,” Walker says. “At this moment, Energy Star product is winning out.”

Many in the industry are supporting an extension of the tax credits. In addition to WDMA’s alert this week, a letter co-signed by top executives from many of the country’s largest window, door and skylight manufacturers was sent to every member of Congress last week urging support of an extension.

WDDA sent out a similar alert to its members last week. “With the market struggling to recover, we think an extension of the tax credits is crucial to preserving jobs, and a long term positive in enhancing our nation’s energy efficiency,” Walker concludes. “We may not know what will happen until late in the negotiations, but we’re optimistic it could still happen. What we do know; the hour glass has now begun.”