Howard plans to end property tax credit for energy improvements

Ulman would accelerate payment, then end subsidies

May 04, 2011|By Larry Carson, The Baltimore Sun

Howard County residents waiting for tax credits for solar and geothermal home energy systems may get their money faster under an Ulman administration proposal to pay them off and close the program down.

If the County Council approves, County Executive Ken Ulman would eliminate the waiting list of 263 county residents who qualified for the property tax credits before April 1 but who haven't yet been paid by adding an extra $250,000 from one-time surplus funds to next fiscal year's budget. The county's program takes up to $5,000 off of the property tax bills of homeowners who buy energy-saving systems, under a law approved in late 2006.

Ulman and Joshua Feldmark, the administration's energy expert, said the program has done its job spurring interest in the alternative energy systems and isn't needed any more, but with an annual cap of $250,000 a year in tax credits, the waiting list had grown quite long. The extra money would allow those already qualified to get their credits faster, while ending the subsidies for new buyers.

"We spent a lot of time talking to folks in the solar and geothermal business," Feldmark said. "Their sense is they are doing quite well. They don't need this anymore."

Feldmark said 429 people qualified for the credits since it began July 1, 2007, with a few more still in the process of being certified.

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