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Another break for wind?

HURON COUNTY – Proponents of eliminating the personal property tax argue it’s unfriendly to business. But in regard to wind energy developments, it’s the only taxes paid for wind turbines.

And local officials argue Michigan’s already friendly enough to wind businesses.

“They’ve already got a break,” Huron County Commissioner David Peruski said, noting a business operating out of Bad Axe pays a much higher millage rate than a wind turbine operating out of Bingham Township in the Michigan Wind I development.

One small business operating out of Bad Axe pays 61.3031 mills (which includes 18.56 mills levied by the City of Bad Axe) on the business’s lot and building, and 49.3031 in personal property taxes on equipment, said Huron County Treasurer Sherry Learman.

A wind turbine in Bingham Township is taxed 8.0492 mills, she said. A non-homestead taxpayer (i.e. owner of a second home or business) is levied 40.0985 mills and primary homestead taxpayers are levied. 22.0985 mills in Bingham Township.

Though wind turbines pay a considerably smaller millage rate than other residents and non-homestead taxpayers, the actual amount paid in taxes from the wind development is very large, Learman said.

Turbines in Bingham Township brought in $122,189.51 last year to just the township, she said. Local units of government in the Michigan Wind I farm (which includes Bingham Township) received more than $514,000 in personal property taxes from that wind project.

Senate Bill 34 (SB 34), sponsored by Sen. Mike Nofs, (R-Calhoun) seeks to eliminate personal property taxes, which local officials fear will result in a significant loss of revenue, including a substantial loss of future revenue from wind energy developments.

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