Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Thursday rewrote portions of a proposed law that deals mainly with Cook County property assessments but also would set up a statewide method of assessing wind farms for property tax purposes.
Even though the governor did not alter the provisions concerning wind farms, the fate of those provisions is entwined with the rest of the overall bill.
Lawmakers will have to decide next month whether to accept Blagojevich’s revisions to House Bill 664, which would require a majority vote in the House and the Senate. If they opt instead to override the governor’s veto, that would require a three-fifths vote in each chamber.
If neither of those scenarios plays out, then the legislation would die and nothing would happen.
Rep. Frank Mautino, a Spring Valley Democrat who has led the charge on the wind farm issue, said he thinks lawmakers will either accept the amendatory veto or override it.
If the legislation simply dies, lawmakers would face the unpleasant prospect of having their Cook County constituents receive higher property tax bills with a first payment due around Christmas, Mautino said.
The wind farm provisions in HB664 are meant to solve an existing problem: the inconsistency among Illinois counties about how to assess them. Different methodologies complicate property assessments for wind farms that cross county lines.
Under the legislation, a wind farm installed in 2007 would pay a tax of $9,000 per megawatt. That figure would drop slightly each year because of physical depreciation of the wind devices.
If enacted into law, the measure would expire – or “sunset” – after the 2011 tax year. The sunset date is meant to let lawmakers review how well the law is working.
By Adriana Colindres
21 September 2007
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