The Alliance to Save Energy, a 30-year-old coalition of business, political, consumer and environmental leaders, today urged the U.S. Senate to adopt a bill that would grant or extend tax credits to consumers for energy-saving home improvements, while also potentially stimulating the economy.

The bill, The Jobs, Energy, Families & Disaster Relief Act of 2008, would offer energy-related tax incentives to consumers and businesses, and includes a new provision that would provide a tax credit for plug-in electric vehicles. But for all its timeliness, it has not been a slam-dunk in Congress, where Democrats and Republicans have been locked in debate over how to fund the tax credits. A vote Wednesday on whether to continue to debate the bill suggested it may be killed, going the way of previous proposals on the same topic deep-sixed earlier this year.

The Alliance to Save Energy sees the tax incentives as economically wise because they would do double duty – helping consumers strapped by high food and gas prices, while also assisting businesses selling the covered home improvements. The net effect: an overall boost to the economy, especially the green sector. All of which prompted the Alliance to issue a new release asking senators to “move beyond partisan bickering” to “help Americans meet the challenge of spiraling energy costs.”

“At a time when American households are paying an estimated $6,300 a year in total energy costs, it is simply inexcusable for Congress to leave for the August recess without approving the ‘extenders’ bill,” said Alliance President Kateri Callahan in a news release.

The Alliance, whose board is composed of Democratic and Republican senators, representatives from companies like Dow Chemical Company and Washington Gas, as well as policy groups like the Edison Electric Institute and the National Resources Defense Council, is among many organizations advocating for the tax incentive bill.

Senate Bill 3335 would:

  • Extend consumer income tax credits for energy-efficient upgrades to existing homes through 2008.
  • Extend business tax credits through 2013 for energy-efficient commercial buildings.
  • Modify and extend through 2010 the energy-efficient tax credits for appliance manufacturers producing greener products
  • Introduce a new $3,000 tax credit for qualified plug-in electric drive vehicles.
  • Extend tax incentives for certain types of wind and geothermal energy installations.

The Alliance to Save Energy was formed by Senators Charles H. Percy (R-Ill.) and Hubert H. Humphrey (D-Minn.) following the energy crisis of the mid-1970s.