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State lawmakers override governor’s veto of wind farm tax bill

The Illinois Senate approved a plan Friday that could boost the development of more wind farms in downstate Illinois. The proposal was paired with a controversial measure aimed at softening the blow of rising taxes for Cook County homeowners. The Senate voted 55-1 Friday to override Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s veto. The House already voted to override, so the bill has become law. The wind farm provision will standardize how the giant windmills are taxed for the next five years.

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Senate approved a plan Friday that could boost the development of more wind farms in downstate Illinois.

The proposal was paired with a controversial measure aimed at softening the blow of rising taxes for Cook County homeowners.

The Senate voted 55-1 Friday to override Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s veto. The House already voted to override, so the bill has become law.

The wind farm provision will standardize how the giant windmills are taxed for the next five years.

Under the old law, counties could vary on how they assess the value of the turbines for local taxing purposes. That meant developers had to play a guessing game in trying to plan for the costs of operating a wind farm.

“We’re eliminating the question mark,” said state Sen. Dan Rutherford, R-Chenoa. “We’re leveling the playing field.”

Wind farm speculators have proposed more than $1 billion in developments across the state, including many in Central Illinois.

“It’s good for the companies. It’s good for the taxing bodies,” Rutherford said.

As for the Cook County homeowner provision, the law will put a 7 percent cap on growth of property tax assessments in the Chicago area. The... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Senate approved a plan Friday that could boost the development of more wind farms in downstate Illinois.

The proposal was paired with a controversial measure aimed at softening the blow of rising taxes for Cook County homeowners.

The Senate voted 55-1 Friday to override Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s veto. The House already voted to override, so the bill has become law.

The wind farm provision will standardize how the giant windmills are taxed for the next five years.

Under the old law, counties could vary on how they assess the value of the turbines for local taxing purposes. That meant developers had to play a guessing game in trying to plan for the costs of operating a wind farm.

“We’re eliminating the question mark,” said state Sen. Dan Rutherford, R-Chenoa. “We’re leveling the playing field.”

Wind farm speculators have proposed more than $1 billion in developments across the state, including many in Central Illinois.

“It’s good for the companies. It’s good for the taxing bodies,” Rutherford said.

As for the Cook County homeowner provision, the law will put a 7 percent cap on growth of property tax assessments in the Chicago area. The measure provides a tax exemption up to $33,000 a year that is phased out over three years.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich had vetoed the legislation, saying it didn’t go far enough in giving homeowners protection from rising tax bills. He wanted to increase the exemption to $40,000 and make it permanent.

Supporters of overriding the governor acknowledged there were better options on the table, but time was running short before tax bills had to be prepared.

“We could do a lot better. But it’s not the 12th hour. It’s past the 12th hour, and people need the relief,” said state Sen. Terry Link, D-Waukegan.

Senate President Emil Jones, D-Chicago, was the lone “no” vote. He said the measure needed more work.

“Business is not paying their fare share,” Jones said.

The legislation is House Bill 664



 


Source: http://www.pantagraph.com/a...

OCT 13 2007
http://www.windaction.org/posts/11418-state-lawmakers-override-governor-s-veto-of-wind-farm-tax-bill
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