Home and business owners would get tax incentives to upgrade their HVAC systems under a $200 billion economic stimulus package approved by the Senate Finance Committee Wednesday.
The package extends tax credits originally created in the 2005 Energy Policy Act for buyers of high-efficiency furnaces, water heaters, boilers, central air conditioners and related products. The incentives had expired in December.
It also includes a tax deduction for commercial building owners or tenants that make energy-efficient improvements, and home builders that construct houses which are 50 percent more efficient than national codes require.
The incentives were sought by the Air Condition Contractors of America, which says they will improve business for members, save energy and aid the national economy. It sought similar tax breaks when the U.S. House passed its version of the package earlier in the week, but the final bill did not include any of the provisions.
Whether the bill that is finally signed by President George W. Bush will include the HVAC-related incentives is unclear. The president and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have urged the Senate not to add anything to the bills that would slow them down or increase their cost. The Senate committee-approved package costs about $50 million more than the one passed by the House and reduces the rebates to taxpayers that make up the core of the package. Some members of the Senate also want to boost unemployment assistance in states such as Michigan.
The Senate is expected to vote on its bill next week.
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