Senator Vitter Calls For Slashing Solar Tax Credits, Not Fossil Fuel Subsidies


Senator David Vitter is seeking the governorship of Louisiana. He will face state representative John Bel Edwards in a runoff election on November 21. As part of his campaign, Vitter has called for the elimination of state tax credits for Louisiana residents who add rooftop solar installations to their homes.

“We have some tax credits that are really giveaways and spending items by another name. For instance, the solar tax credit. That’s a check from the taxpayers for folks to buy solar panels,” Vitter said during a radio interview last week. “It’s really a spending program and it’s a big check. I don’t think the state taxpayer should be in the business of buying folks solar panels, mostly folks who are perfectly well off.” Those credits amount to $147 million since the program began in 2009. Meanwhile, oil and gas companies have pocketed $2.4 billion in state subsidies during the same period. His remarks came just days after he was endorsed by the The Louisiana Oil and Gas Political Action Committee.

During his political career, Vitter has received over $1 million in financial support from the oil and gas industry. Hydrocarbon magnates, from Koch Industries to Cheniere Energy, have also contributed handsomely to Vitter’s Super PAC, according to Think Progress.  He told an Oil and Gas Industry Day event in May, “We need to get the federal government out of the way. We still have too many attacks against good job producers.”

As part of his run for governor, Vitter promises to “root out corruption and cronyism.” He claims that Louisiana is awash with “criminal investigations, sweetheart deals, [and] ethics violations.” He characterizes himself as a “tireless champion for good government” and vows he “will have a zero tolerance policy towards corruption and cronyism” as governor.

Sadly, however,  Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), has included Vitter on its 2007, 2011, and 2012 “Most Corrupt” Members of Congress Lists. CREW notes that he has been admonished by the Senate Ethics Committee for actions that undermined a “basic principal of government service.” While in Washington, Vitter was implicated in the notorious DC Madam affair. A campaign ad just released by his opponent suggests that Vitter “chose prostitutes” over being present for a vote honoring soldiers killed in action. Ouch.

The prostitution accusation is fitting. By championing continued subsidies for oil and gas interests while decrying tax credits for solar energy, he has revealed himself to be nothing more than a political prostitute. If America is to break its addiction to fossil fuels, it needs leaders, not “know nothing” officials who say only what someone pays then to say. A “tireless champion for good government?” Not in your wildest dreams, Senator.

Photo credit: Vitter campaign


Steve Hanley

Closely following the transition from internal combustion to electricity. Whether it's cars, trucks, ships, or airplanes, sustainability is the key. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.