Reprinted with permission from Oil, Gas and Energy Quarterly, Volume 50, Issue 2, December 1, 2001, pages 339-367. Copyright 2001 Matthew Bender & Company, Inc., a member of the LexisNexis Group. All rights reserved. Publisher website: http://www.lexis.com.
The country seems to have quickly embarked on a new energy crisis. "From Manhattan to Montana, worries are mounting that skyrocketing power prices and rolling blackouts will soon spread from their epicenter in California.... Concern about the power picture extends to the top levels of the Bush Administration as it attempts to hammer out a new energy policy." As politicians search for possible solutions to the current crisis, incentives for energy conservation are often mentioned as a possible remedy. A recent Congressional Research Service Issue Brief describes several potential bills. Two create a refundable tax credit for up to 50% of increased residential energy costs, a third establishes a 15% residential tax credit for homeowners who purchase photovoltaics and solar thermal equipment. Because tax incentives have been used in past crises, a logical step should be to examine the policies used to determine if they were effective and should be utilized in the future. This paper reports the results of a study of the Energy Tax Act of 1978's provisions relating to residential energy credits.
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