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Tax petition lands on Huelskamp's desk

By MARY CLARKIN

Special to The Hays Daily News

Copies of a petition bearing 1,306 names and urging Congress to "act now" to support extending the wind energy production tax credit are being hand-delivered to Congressional offices in Kansas.

On Wednesday, a delegation of seven people took the petition to U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp's office in the First National Bank building.

Huelskamp is in Washington, but district scheduler Josh Bell met the group and accepted the petition, along with a study stating 12,316 jobs, direct and indirect, have been created by Kansas wind generation.

The production tax credit is slated to expire at the end of the year. Uncertainty about the life of the tax credit has been blamed for layoffs in the energy sector, including at Siemens Wind Power, Hutchinson.

Jason Ball, in his first day as president and chief executive officer of the Hutchinson/Reno County Chamber of Commerce, was part of the delegation, along with former chamber leader Jon Daveline.

The local chamber supports a five-year phase-out of the tax credit.

At the forefront Wednesday were the Climate and Energy Project's Kate Van Cantfort, communications and special projects director, and acting executive director Dorothy Barnett.

Van Cantfort said most signers are from Kansas, but the petition, made available online, also was signed by people in seven other states.

Approximately 440 people who put their names on the petition live in the 3rd District, represented by Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Overland Park. Those signers from the 1st District, represented by Huelskamp, R-Fowler and Hutchinson, numbered 432. Several hundred-plus people signed it in areas represented by Reps. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, and Lynn Jenkins, R-Topeka.

Each Congressional district has approximately 713,000 residents.

The petition was taken to Jenkins' office Monday and to Yoder's office Tuesday. Pompeo's staff will receive their copy today.

Bell said a number of federal tax credits are expiring. He said it likely was the tax credit actions would be included in one overall package that also would address the "fiscal cliff."

The White House and Congressional leaders are working on a deal to avoid automatic tax hikes and spending cuts that loom as the "fiscal cliff."

Pompeo has sponsored a bill, and Huelskamp is a co-sponsor, that would allow the production tax credit expire.