As a retired professor of management, I appreciate the care with which Professor Herbert Eckerlin unearthed the “unintended results of solar farms” (Aug. 7 Point of View). The problem with such analysis is that you have to stop somewhere, whereas real life continues. For instance, Eckerlin notes that a state tax credit enabled solar farm investors to save $124 million in taxes in 2014. This was a $124 million loss for the state government, money that might have met other needs. That is where the analysis ended, but of course the money did not just sit there.
We don’t know what the investors did with the money. They might have proceeded with plans to build more solar farms, invested in the stock market, put their children through college or financed a presidential candidate. It is almost certain that they ended up paying some of the money in taxes for other reasons. The point is that an analysis of who spends and who saves money is a moving picture. Money that moves pays taxes somewhere. The faster it moves, the more it pays.
If our state loses tax income from solar farms but improves the quality of its air and preserves natural gas for a later date, is this a loss or a gain? The answer lies in an uncertain future, but $124 million is not the answer.
Lane N. Tracy, Ph.D.