So many businesses are getting tax subsidies under Oregon’s effort to promote alternative energy that the state now estimates it will spend $167 million on them in 2009-11, up from $68 million it gave out in similar tax breaks in 2007-09.

PORTLAND — So many businesses are getting tax subsidies under Oregon’s effort to promote alternative energy that the state now estimates it will spend $167 million on them in 2009-11, up from $68 million it gave out in similar tax breaks in 2007-09.

The higher spending demonstrates the increasing popularity of Oregon’s Business Energy Tax Credit. But it comes at time when other state programs face cutbacks, and that’s giving some lawmakers heartburn.

“What this does is create a real dilemma,” said Sen. Ginny Burdick, D-Portland.

The state’s two-year budget, approved last June, will now come up short by as much as $50 million.