#ncga: Tillman defends support for solar subsidies, citing economic development and jobs

181429-Tillman_budget-220x165I had a brief, yet interesting conversation with state Senator Jerry Tillman yesterday afternoon.  The legislator left me a message praising my work, but wanting to talk about “a few things” I ”got wrong.”  O-Kay.  He got me curious.  So, I called him back. 

Tillman was actually calling in response to a story we ran nearly two weeks ago.  Americans for Prosperity (North Carolina) released a 2011 pledge Tillman signed promising to refuse support for any legislation that continues the subsidies for “renewable energy.”  We posted that ssolarigned pledge, and contrasted it to (1) his work in the legislature in support of renewable energy subsidies, and (2) his recent cheerleading for a solar project in Montgomery County.   It was a post loaded with a lot of documentation and evidence. We waited with baited breath to hear WHAT exactly we had wrong. 

Apparently, the good senator has been receiving an earful about the whole affair. In our conversation, Tillman defended his support for solar energy by pointing out that the subsidies had overwhelmingly passed both chambers of the legislature, by noting senator Burr’s support for extending the federal subsidies, and by making a few other points:

“It’s not fair to take it all away when these people already have tremendous investments in the ground.  These projects are a big help to these poor counties that really need the investment and the jobs.  The farmers who owned that land got a pretty good deal. They would have gotten hardly anything for that land without the involvement of these solar companies.”

We asked the senator why it was our responsibility as taxpayers to ensure that these farmers had success with their real estate investments.  We noted that his position flies in the face of the NCGOP platform.  We also pointemoneywhirld out that some solar execs have mentioned their businesses would fold up without government subsidies.  Tillman responded:

“Come on, what energy company — solar, natural gas, oil, fracking — doesn’t get a subsidy?”

Tillman reiterated that his support for solar projects was all about helping economically-distressed regions of the state and creating jobs for the people who live there.

We like Jerry Tillman personally. For the most part, he’s on the right side of the debates in Raleigh.  But, in this case, it’s NOT US who has things WRONG.

23 comments for “#ncga: Tillman defends support for solar subsidies, citing economic development and jobs

  1. Doug
    September 1, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    Exactly what is wrong with the political class. Once they get out of sight of the voters they all just fall into the lemming line for political donations from the lobbyists.

    Last I heard his excuse of “everyone is doing it” has not been a valid excuse ever since we were kids.

    • Rebel Yell
      September 2, 2015 at 11:35 am

      To be honest, I don’t see the big deal -These renewable tax credits ARE NOT subsidies. Period. Nobody’s money is being taken out of their pocket and put in the pockets of solar people. The state is declining to take more of these particular people’s money than they could. Don’t see why conservatives should oppose taking less of someone’s money just because we don’t like the industry they’re in.

      • GUWonder
        September 2, 2015 at 1:05 pm

        These are TAX CREDITS, not tax deductions. That means they get dollar for dollar back, up to the maximum, which I believe is 30%. Tax credits are government subsidies, PERIOD! This is corporate welfate, and worst of all it is corporate welfare that not only takes money out of the pockets of hard working taxpayers, but it also causes increases in our electric rates because this is an inefficient and costly way to produce power, and that gets passed on to consumers. This is crony capitalism at its worst, an ”industry” that cannot stand on its own two feet in the free market, but can only exist with government subsidies and government forcing purchase of their overpriced product. That is NOT free enterprise, and comes closest to the principles of classic fascist economics.

        Hmmm! We also have a new poster who uses a Stewart-esque user name and harps on an issue that the extreme left paid Stewart and Shumaker big bucks to be their spear carriers on. If you are not Stewart himself, you probably work for him.

        Lets take this absurd corporate welfare and use it on road construction instead. Then we will not need bonds.

        • Robert
          September 2, 2015 at 2:38 pm

          These credits / subsidies are wrong on so many levels. I have a business and I don’t get any kind of tax credits. In fact, the NCDOR and IRS have structured it so that small businesses pay more than their fair share. Secondly, it the amount of costs that are borne by the consumers in the green energy scams that’s appalling. I’m all for government cutting costs and reducing taxes across the board but giving special treatment to one industry while penalizing another is criminal. Ask any “solar consultant” and they will tell you that without the subsidies solar is an investment with no possibility of payback.

          • john steed
            September 6, 2015 at 12:28 pm

            Here are some detailed numbers on how the renewable energy scheme rips off the taxpayers. These crony capitalists can get back nearly 60% of their money in the first year, thanks to federal and state tax credits and other gimmicks By year six, they can get back 100% even if they have not sold a kilowatt of energy. Any electricity sales are just additional gravy, and they are quaranteed at a rate well above the normal market rate.

            http://lockerroom.johnlocke.org/2015/09/02/without-tax-credits-solar-survives-and-competes-or-it-fails-neither-is-a-case-for-perpetuating-the-credits/

            This is one of the biggest taxpayer ripoffs to have ever come down the pike, and to top it off, it is also an electric ratepayer rip off, since ratepayers are who get stuck with the overly expensive cost of green power as the utilities pass it on in the form of higher electric rates.

            This scheme benefits nobody but a few well connected special interests and the sleazy politicians they have on their payrolls.

    • John steed
      September 2, 2015 at 9:04 pm

      The strained excuses that TIllman is using are generic enough to cover any corporate welfare, and I strongly suspect if you look at the rest of Tillman’s record, you will find that he is a corporate welfare kind of guy, and that is NOT a conservative. This particular issue is one of the very worst corporate welfare schemes because it not only soaks taxpayers but it also soaks electric ratepayers.

      Further this is an issue where Obama is stridently on one side and makes it one of his signature issues and the North Carolina Republican Party by overwhelming vote of its convention is on the other. Tillman chose and is sticking to the Obama side and is kicking the Republican Party in the teeth. How can he call himself a Republican, much less a conservative? He is an imposter, an Obama Republican or Solyndra Republican.

      It makes me sick to read the load of hooey he gives as an excuse. I have relatives in one of the Tier I counties (high unemployment) that is afflicted with these unsightly solar farms. They cringe every time they see a new one going in, thinking about their future electric bills. Jobs? They tell me that once the things get built, they never see anyone around them. The people who do the construction are not local; they are brought in from out of town. The only local people who benefit from construction are the Patels who own the flea bag motels that the out of town construction workers stay in.

      Does Tillman really think that raising the cost of electricity in our state with this harebrained scheme is going to bring more jobs to North Carolina? Higher electric rates are much more likely to run new jobs away and also run off some that are currently here.

      Is Tillman this gullible or does he think voters are this gullible? If Tillman is this senile, it may be time to retire.

  2. AL Gore
    September 1, 2015 at 8:16 pm

    Senator Tillman is a good progressive Republican who has all the progressive talking points down pat. President Obama’s green energy crusade needs more Republicans to join Senator Tillman in supporting it.

    Republican platform? Who cares about a silly thing like that? What is important is saving the Polar Bears. Who cares about those unimportant peons the electric ratepayers? Who cares if their rates ”necessarily skyrocket” as President Obama himself predicted, from these green energy programs?

    Senator Tillman clearly puts one of President Obama’s signature programs and the future of the Polar Bears ahead of the official positions of his own party and the interests of his own constituents. He has his priorities right as a good progressive.

  3. Ham Biscuit
    September 2, 2015 at 12:21 am

    Thought Repubs were supposed to be against pickin winners and losers. My tax dollars, “I” earned’em, going to solar groups, to buy land at inflated prices. Jobs? What jobs? We have a large group of solar engineers living in Biscoe with nothing to do ? And the best part, these solar saviors will probably vanish in 5 years. Think I’ll just quit working, and start building a wind farm in my back yard. There’s enough hot air coming from Raleigh to turn some turbines. Or that incinerator that burns manure. Enough of that coming from Raleigh to power the state indefinitely..

  4. September 2, 2015 at 3:15 am

    How about pursuing reduction of the North Carolina annual budget by, say, 20%, which would be about $4 billion!
    Goal should be to make North Carolina the lowest cost tax state in the 50ty states!
    Then business will flow here without the public servants having to make corrupting deals!

    • GUWonder
      September 2, 2015 at 8:13 am

      Tilliman and leftwing idiots like him are going the opposite direction. They are pursuing policies that will jack up our electric rates and make North Carolina uncompetitive in electric rates with states that have not gone hog wild with renewable expensive energy. That will cost us jobs not bring us jobs. Tillman is either a senile dupe, a fool, or someone who is bought and paid for.

  5. Nancy in Craven
    September 2, 2015 at 9:23 am

    Am I the only one who wonders how this circular money scheme works? How much of the taxpayers money gets recirculated back to those we elect to govern? I am unconvinced that any of this happens because it’s the right thing to do. How many somebodies are getting their pockets lined? And by the way, how many readers are happy to be voting for Republicans who are doing exactly the same thing as their Democrat compatriots did for over 110 years? Is this progress, or what?

    • GUWonder
      September 2, 2015 at 9:43 am

      Too many in our legislature, and particularly the ruling House triumvirate of Tim Moore, David Lewis, and Nelson Dollar are in teh hip pockets of the special interests. The corrupt crony capitalists of the green energy lobby is one of the worst but not the only one. It is just like in the days of Marc Basnight and Jim Black, only the miscreants have an R by their names.

      Civitas shined a very penetrating light on the corruption from far left sources on the green energy scam. These corrupt legislators ought to be scrurrying like cockroaches but too many of them like Tillman think they can keep playing this corrupt game. Sorry, but we voters are waking up. No legislator who has voted for the corrupt green energy cabal deserves our vote in either the primary or general election. They are as corrupt as the Democrats.

      Tillman ought to be doing a mea culpa and apologizing for going off the rails on this one, while pledging to vote against this crap in the future. Instead, he is doubling down on corruption. He needs a primary from someone who will vote the interests of the taxpayers and electric ratepayers instead of the pocketbook of the special interests. In his primary, I hope the AFP absolutely barbeques the varmint Tillman on his betrayal on this issue. He richly deserves it.

      Citing Tricky Dick Burr does not help anyone, as Burr has gone way off the reservation on many issues, and is now voting more liberal than Lindsay Graham. If Tillman thinks emulating Tricky Dick is the way to go, then that is just another reason to send him home.

  6. aquin06
    September 3, 2015 at 9:29 am

    For the most part Mr. Tillman is on the conservative side of most issues. I understand the reason he voted for sustaining credits, but when is the proper time to drop this crony crap? I think solar, wind and oil have run out of excuses why they need subsidies. If they are viable industries then let them make it on their own. Government and Cronyism should never be a consideration.

    • Ham Biscuit
      September 3, 2015 at 2:10 pm

      If you understand why, please explain.

      • GUWonder
        September 3, 2015 at 7:30 pm

        A big dose of payola from the special interests? Tillman’s pad in Raleigh sounds expensive.

      • aquin06
        September 7, 2015 at 8:54 am

        Tax deductions for oil exploration!!!

        • GUWonder
          September 7, 2015 at 8:54 pm

          And that justifies TIllman selling out the GOP, the taxpayers, and the electric ratepayers to buddy up to corrupt crony capitalists in the renewable energy scam . . . HOW?

          You also seem to not understand the difference between tax credits, which give money back dollar for dollar and tax deductions which have to be offset against actual income, and then only reduce taxes based on the tax rate of the taxpayer, which is a whole lot less than dollar for dollar.

  7. September 4, 2015 at 12:27 am

    Does anyone really doubt that fossil fuel use receive massive subsidies?

    • GUWonder
      September 4, 2015 at 9:04 am

      Far left Horsehockey. Show me where in the NORTH CAROLINA budget there are ”massive subsidies” for conventional energy.

      Even in the federal budget what the radical environmentalists claim as ”subsidies” are NOT. They are deductions that ALL businesses get.

      Green energy is a costly and inefficient source that is being highly subsidized for left wing political reasons.

      Also, consumers are not forced to buy any type of energy except for inefficient green energy whether solar or wind power or the ethanol that damages car engines and reduces gas milage, while raising the price of both gasoline and food.

  8. john steed
    September 4, 2015 at 11:32 am

    The numbers on this green energy scam are obscene, as shown here:

    http://www.beaufortobserver.net/Articles-NEWS-and-COMMENTARY-c-2015-09-03-279515.112112-The-solar-energy-scam-is-obscene-Just-look-at-the-numbers.html

    Oh, and this website is from one of those eastern Tier 1 counties that Tillman claims is ”benefiting” from this crap.

    The legislators getting campaign cash kickbacks from these con men need to be hounded out of office. When the campaign reports come out, it will be interesting to see how much TIllman’s take from this scam is.

  9. Atnor
    September 8, 2015 at 4:43 pm

    This is the same guy who I remember worked to keep auto inspections on brand-new cars a few years back… specifically pointing out that auto shops need the money to keep flowing.

    Ugh… this guy doesnt have a clue about the “what” and “why” principles like “limited” and “smaller” government are important. He’s basically a pro- big government, nanny state guy, and I dont really have a high opinion of those.

  10. Atnor
    September 8, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    “We asked the senator why it was our responsibility as taxpayers to ensure that these farmers had success with their real estate investments.”

    Also -his answer isnt at all an actual answer to the question. It’s because he doesnt really hold that as a principle, so the answer we must guess is closer to “because we can, you rube”.

    Just like Democrats, he wants to use government to protect and enrich “his” particular slate of interests, and he doesnt understand or care that “that” is not “why” government exists, nor how it should be used.

  11. AL Gore
    September 10, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    No one should be surprised that Sen. Richard Burr has gotten on board with President Obama’s green energy policies. Remember that our hard core environmental movement paid out a big pile of money to buy those two progressive Republican consultants, Dee Stewart and Paul Shumaker? Well, guess what, Shumaker just happens to be Richard Burr’s consultant. I posted a long time ago that this would happen on Burr’s support for the president’s green energy program.

    Now just watch Stewart’s client Patrick McHenry.

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