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BREAKING: East Oregonian - “Buehlers invested $100,000 in BETC credits before lambasting the program”

Sat, 10/13/2018 - 17:16

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Republican Knute Buehler must release his tax returns so voters can see any other potential conflicts of interest


Republican Knute Buehler and his wife each bought tens of thousands of dollars worth of tax credits through the scandal-plagued Business Energy Tax Credits (BETC) program -- a program Buehler himself criticized as enriching “well-heeled investors at the expense of Oregon tax payers.”


A new report from Claire Withycombe at the East Oregonian reveals that Buehler and his wife each bought $50,000 worth of BETC credits, allowing them to avoid a total of $33,000 on their state income taxes, according to data from the Department of Energy.


Still, Buehler had no problem hypocritically criticizing the program on the House floor, in a guest column in the Oregonian, and in the most recent gubernatorial debate.


From the East Oregonian:

Knute Buehler stumped on the floor of the Oregon House of Representatives to decry the state’s controversial business energy tax incentive

Buehler, now the Republican nominee for governor, left out one fact in his speech.

He and his wife once had personally invested in $100,000 of the tax credits that later mushroomed into a multi-million dollar scandal at the state Energy Department, according to agency records.

Buehler didn’t respond to a telephone message Friday seeking comment.


“Knute Buehler has taken every opportunity to get on a soapbox to express moral outrage over the program’s waste, while pocketing over $30,000 thanks to the very same tax giveaway. The hypocrisy is staggering,” said Christian Gaston, the Brown campaign’s communications director added. “Buehler must release his tax returns so voters can see what other special tax breaks he’s taken. What else is he hiding?”


More from the East Oregonian:

In 2015, the then-freshman lawmaker from Bend lambasted the incentives during a debate on the state’s low carbon fuels standard on the House floor….

He said the state had “presided over a scandalous and perhaps even criminal waste of tax credit giveaways that mostly benefit out-of-state corporations and well-heeled investors at the expense of Oregon                                   taxpayers, and more important funding priorities like K-12.”

In about 2008, according to state records, Buehler bought $50,000 in tax credits for $33,500. His wife, Patricia, had an identical but separate transaction at the same time.

In purchasing the credits, the couple were pass-through partners in an arrangement that allowed them to buy tax credits at a discounted rate from SeQuential-Pacific Biodiesel LLC, for a new biodiesel production plant, according to Energy Department records.

Buehler’s campaign didn’t respond to written questions about when the purchases were completed or whether the tax credits were claimed on his tax returns. The credits would offset other tax liabilities.

A year ago, Buehler criticized the tax credit program again in an opinion piece he wrote for The Oregonian.

“Oregon is just beginning to clean up the mess from its notorious business-energy tax credit scandal, which sent millions of tax dollars to energy speculators and well-to-do investors that could have been better spent on Oregon students,” Buehler wrote on Oct. 22, 2017.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s campaign said in a statement that Buehler should release all of his tax returns. He disclosed his 2016 and 2017 tax returns in June.

“We’ve been calling on Knute Buehler to release his tax returns for this very reason,” said Christian Gaston, a spokesman for the Brown campaign. “Voters need to be able to see what other special tax breaks he’s taken, and what else he’s hiding. It’s amazing that he took advantage of these credits and then turned around and decried that well-to-do investors were benefiting.”


Full story here: East Oregonian - Buehlers invested $100,000 in BETC credits before lambasting the program