A coalition of tea party groups is urging Gov. Rick Scott to veto the conservative Legislature's energy proposal, calling its revival of expired renewable energy tax credits "crony capitalism."
Scott received HB 7117, pushed by Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam in effort to start diversifying the state's energy sources, on March 30. He has until Friday to decide if it becomes law.
The tax incentives, meant to inspire increased renewable energy production to reduce dependence on natural gas, total $100 million over the next five years, the groups say. Speaking at a Tallahassee news conference Tuesday, Americans for Prosperity state director Slade O'Brien said coal and natural gas remain the cheapest sources of energy, so why give goodies to sectors that aren't competitive and will lead to increased energy bills?
"Please do not continue down the failed policy path of former Gov. Crist and President Obama by allowing this bad bill to become law," reads an April 5 letter signed by Americans for Prosperity and about 100 other tea party and 912 Project groups from around the state.
"How much in crony renewable handouts is enough?" said James Taylor, Heartland Institute senior fellow. "The stimulus has already provided $17 billion in taxpayer handouts to the renewable power industry."
Putnam responded to tea party criticism of his ideas last week, calling their concerns "rooted in a lack of good information."