Senate Approves Wind Tax Legislation

CHEYENNE, (AP) - Proposals to tax wind energy in Wyoming
and create new regulations for the fledgling industry are moving through the state Legislature. The Senate on Friday gave final approval to a bill that would impose a $1 per megawatt hour excise tax on wind energy production. The bill now heads to Gov. Dave Freudenthal, a supporter of the wind tax, for his signature.

The House Minerals Committee voted to send the full House a proposal to expand the state's permitting authority over major industrial projects to cover more wind farms. The Senate Minerals Committee voted Friday to recommend approval of statewide minimum county regulations for wind development and a 16-month moratorium on the use of eminent domain for wind power collector lines. The Senate will now consider both measures.

Also from the Legislature, bill to impose local sales-and-use taxes on digital products has been endorsed by the Senate Revenue Committee. The panel sent the proposal to the full Senate Thursday on a 3-2 vote. House Bill 29 supporters say the measure codifies what is already required in collecting taxes on such things as music purchased and downloaded from the Internet.

Testimony for the bill said it is fair because purchases at brick-and-mortar stores in the community are taxed. Testimony against the legislation said that the products were not well enough defined to be sure there was equitable taxation for similar products.

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