BET energy credit proposed

Businesses with high energy bills may get some tax relief if a bill proposed by the Senate Republican leadership becomes law.

The bill, which was in the process of being drafted shortly after Thanksgiving, would allow businesses to take a credit equal to half of their energy bills – up to $500 — on next year’s business enterprise tax return.

Some 50,000 businesses – most of them small – could benefit from the proposal, state Sen. Charles Morse, R-Salem — prime sponsor of the bill — told the NHBR Daily. Those who pay the business profits tax won’t get the tax break, but far more small business pay the BET rather than the BPT, Morse said.

“This is an attempt to help the little guy,” Morse said, adding that, while businesses of all sizes would be eligible for the credit, $500 means a lot more to a smaller operation.

The money from the bill came from what is expected to be a windfall of as much as $18 million in business tax collections, Morse said. Changes in federal tax law will encourage businesses to report overseas profits domestically, meaning those businesses will face state taxes and will increase the state’s revenues.

“I would have liked to just lower the BET,” Morse said, but since much of the revenue increase would be realized in the first year, other senators didn’t feel comfortable in instituting a long time change based on a one year windfall. – BOB SANDERS

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