Wind Advocates Applaud Bill to Protect Millions in Annual Revenue For Rural Communities
SPRINGFIELD - Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed legislation Tuesday that will ensure the state's rural communities continue to receive tens of millions in annual property tax revenue from wind farms.
Senate Bill 2612, sponsored by Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) and Rep. Tom Demmer (R-Rochelle), extends a sunset provision in an existing law that is scheduled to expire at the end of 2016. The tax revenue from Illinois wind farms injects millions of dollars into local coffers for rural schools, roads, and other government services.
Illinois' existing wind projects provide over $30 million in annual property tax revenue to local communities, according to a July 2016 study by the Center for Renewable Energy at Illinois State University. The state ranks fifth in the nation for installed wind capacity, and is leading the way for clean energy job growth in the Midwest, according to a recent study by Clean Energy Trust.
"Business stability for wind farm operators is an issue on which both sides of the aisle can agree," said Kevin Borgia, public policy manager at Wind on the Wires. "We applaud Sen. Koehler and Rep. Demmer for forging unanimous, bipartisan support for the legislation."
"Extending this provision will ensure that rural Illinois communities will continue to benefit from tax revenue generated by wind farms for years to come," Borgia added.
The bill is not a tax break, it simply extends the sunset on existing law governing the amount of local property taxes that wind farms will pay to local governments. This revenue is increasingly important for rural counties amidst ongoing budget stalemate at the state capitol.
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