Wyoming lawmakers eye end tax break for new wind projects
CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming lawmakers are discussing whether to end a tax break on new wind energy projects.
The Legislature’s Joint Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee plans to take up the proposal again in November after voting 6-5 Friday to draft a bill that would eliminate a three-year electricity tax moratorium for new wind projects.
Wyoming imposes a $1 per megawatt hour tax on wind energy after the three-year grace period.
Lifting the moratorium would raise much-needed revenue, proponents say. Tough times in the coal, oil and natural gas industries have diminished state revenue by about one-third.
In response, Gov. Mark Gordon is cutting state agency budgets 10% and has told agency directors to prepare for another round of 10% cuts if necessary.
Skeptics of the bill say repeal would raise costs for consumers and discourage investment in wind power in Wyoming, the Casper Star-Tribune reported.
“We are creating uncertainty for the industry,” said Rep. Dan Furphy, a Republican from Laramie. “I’m not opposed to looking at it, but I am not ready to draft a bill to again create uncertainty for the industry.”
The tax dates to 2010. Sen. Charles Scott, a Casper Republican, introduced a motion Friday to draft another bill that would increase the tax by another $1 per megawatt hour.
The proposal failed.