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Wind farm legislation a no-go  

State lawmakers probably will end their spring legislative session without voting on a plan that would establish a uniform method of assessing wind farms for property tax purposes, said Rep. Frank Mautino, D-Spring Valley.

Mautino said Friday that negotiations aimed at figuring out how to assess the farms likely would fail to produce an agreement before the General Assembly adjourns. Adjournment is scheduled for May 31, but could be pushed back if legislators can’t hit an agreement on next year’s budget.

Illinois counties use different methodologies to assess wind farms, complicating property assessments for wind farms that cross county lines.

Woodford County officials have indicated a reluctance to approve future wind farm developments there until the taxing issue is resolved.

Mautino and other interested parties, including county assessors, local governments and wind-energy companies, have been negotiating the issue for weeks.

While there is general agreement on the figure to be used in assessments – $8,000 per megawatt – other complications remain, he said.

One of the complications involves assessors’ concerns about putting a specific dollar figure into state law, he said. Changing that dollar figure at some point in the future probably would be very difficult because lawmakers could view it as a tax increase.

Also, Mautino said, some taxing bodies, such as school districts, already have reached agreements on how much property tax money they are to receive from wind farms, and they don’t want to get a lesser amount.

Mautino said he intends to keep working on the issue.

“The day will come for it,” he said.

Wind farms are a relatively new but growing industry in Illinois. For example, a wind farm started operating about a year and a half ago in Lee County, another development another development has been proposed near El Paso, and still another is slated for construction next year near Benson.

By Adriana Colindres

Gatehouse News Service

Peoria Journal Star

26 May 2007

pjstar.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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