Two legislators are introducing bills that aim to tweak how Wyoming taxes wind energy producers, according to Wyoming Energy News. Rep. Tim Stubson (R-Casper) wants to tax new wind farms at $3 per megawatt hour, but exempt them from sales taxes on equipment. Rep. Jim Roscoe (D-Wilson) wants to divert a small portion of the state’s share of wind energy taxes to address wildlife issues in areas where large wind power installations are built.

Stubson believes his proposal would bring in more revenue for the state, while encouraging the state’s growing wind power industry, as developers would otherwise have to pay millions in sales taxes when they buy the turbines, machinery and other equipment for new wind farms. According to Stubson, these companies would often have to borrow large amounts of money to pay those up-front sales taxes, which would require them to interest payments in the millions of dollars over the years.

Stubson said that by replacing the sales tax with a flat tax, wind developers wouldn’t have to borrow that money — thus saving them money.

The other approach to the issue is being put forth by Rep. Jim Roscoe, a Democrat from Wilson. His bill would divert part of the $1-per-megawatt-hour tax revenue to help wildlife affected by wind farms.

Current law requires wind tax revenue will be split 60-40 between local governments and the state, respectively. Roscoe wants to take 2 percent of the state’s cut and give it to the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resources Trust fund.

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Published on January 19, 2011

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Andrew Carson January 23, 2011 at 2:18 pm

The Wildlife Trust Fund was a great idea that garners widespread support, as we all appreciate the animals with which we share the state. Unfortunately, it is too easy to shortchange, and has historically been less than effective due to lack of resources. The Roscoe bill is a good start at addressing this longterm lack of thoughtful management of one of our most important ‘resources’ — wildlife.

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