Senator McCollister recently wrote about the seriousness of climate change (“Getting serious about being green,” Nov. 20). Whether or not you choose to believe the claims he made on the subject, you should think about this: The senator intends to increase the amount of mandated renewables here in Nebraska.
Before deciding to support such a mandate, Nebraskans should educate themselves about the impact to human health, effects on real estate values, impact on electric rates and environmental impact due to loss of beneficial species.
Senator McCollister was instrumental in passing LB 824 in 2016. This bill gave numerous exemptions and immunities to private, for-profit, renewable energy generation businesses. Among them is the Name Plate Capacity Tax. This tax is instead of the personal property taxes we all pay if we own property in the state.
This bill sets the tax rate at $3,518 per megawatt of nameplate capacity. Using an example of a 2.5 megawatt wind turbine, the yearly tax would be $8,795. The cost to build that turbine would be about $3.5 million. In my home county, if I were to build a commercial building of equal value, my tax would be $54,950. Allowing this disparity is hypocritical when talking about property tax relief.
Further, the tax base will erode when people migrate away from, or defer construction of, homes or businesses in the vicinity of the renewables project. The loss to the tax base is 6.2 times the contribution of the renewables facility per dollar of asset.
Without debate of climate change, or what role renewable energy might play, every tax payer in Nebraska deserves a level playing field. Fairness should be the first consideration of tax policy.
Terry Madson, Nelson
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