Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Future wind projects will pay sales tax

House drives stake through wind taxation bill

A reconsideration vote Wednesday failed to revive HB 191 – Wind power taxation.

The House killed the bill on a tie vote on third reading Tuesday, 29-29. An effort to revive it found a definite majority in opposition when the bill was again killed 27-32.

Opponents again argued the legislation would not provide local governments with the money they need to deal with the social and infrastructure impacts of big wind farm projects.

The ESPC supported defeating the measure, which essentially put the state in the position of financing sales tax for new wind projects (existing projects enjoyed a sales tax exemption). Without HB 191, the law passed by the 2010 Legislature will stay in effect, which imposes a $1/megawatt-hour excise tax three years after the turbine begins generating electricity. Moreover, the sales tax exemption will expire, and the sales tax revenues will help local governments deal with the impacts of wind projects.

Here’s the vote on reconsideration of HB 191 – Wind power taxation:

Ayes: Representative(s) Berger, Blake, Bonner, Buchanan, Burkhart, Byrd, Childers, Eklund, Freeman, Greear, Harvey, Illoway, Kasperik, Krone, Lockhart, Loucks, Lubnau, Nicholas B, Patton, Pederson, Petroff, Stubson, Teeters, Throne, Vranish, Wallis and Zwonitzer, Dn..

Nays: Representative(s) Barbuto, Blikre, Botten, Brechtel, Brown, Campbell, Cannady, Connolly, Craft, Davison, Edmonds, Esquibel, K., Gay, Gingery, Goggles, Greene, Harshman, Hunt, Jaggi, Kroeker, Madden, McKim, McOmie, Miller, Moniz, Peasley, Petersen, Quarberg, Roscoe, Semlek, Steward and Zwonitzer, Dv..
Excused: Representative(s) Shepperson
Ayes 27 Nays 32 Excused 1 Absent 0 Conflicts 0

Campaign finance - changes to disclosure of independent disclosures

SF 3- Campaign finance – organizations cleared the House Committee of the Whole with a new amendment from Rep. John Patton (R-HD29, Sheridan). The House Corporations committee stripped a Senate amendment requiring independent expenditure campaigns to list the names of their top three contributors in print ads and to speak those names in broadcast ads.

The committee instead adopted a disclosure amendment requiring reporting of contributors, similar to the reporting now required of candidate committees and PACs. The bill will be on second reading Thursday.

Citizens can register their opinions on specific legislation by using the “Online Hotline” or the telephone Hotline – 1-866-966-8683 or, in Cheyenne, 777-8683.