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Rauner signs bill to extend local wind farm tax

Wednesday, Aug 17, 2016 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Press release from Wind on the Wires, a group which advocates for wind power…

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed legislation Tuesday that will ensure the state’s rural communities continue to receive tens of millions in annual property tax revenue from wind farms.

Senate Bill 2612, sponsored by Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) and Rep. Tom Demmer (R-Rochelle), extends a sunset provision in an existing law that is scheduled to expire at the end of 2016. The tax revenue from Illinois wind farms injects millions of dollars into local coffers for rural schools, roads, and other government services.

Illinois’ existing wind projects provide over $30 million in annual property tax revenue to local communities, according to a July 2016 study by the Center for Renewable Energy at Illinois State University. The state ranks fifth in the nation for installed wind capacity, and is leading the way for clean energy job growth in the Midwest, according to a recent study by Clean Energy Trust.

“Business stability for wind farm operators is an issue on which both sides of the aisle can agree,” said Kevin Borgia, public policy manager at Wind on the Wires. “We applaud Sen. Koehler and Rep. Demmer for forging unanimous, bipartisan support for the legislation.”

“Extending this provision will ensure that rural Illinois communities will continue to benefit from tax revenue generated by wind farms for years to come,” Borgia added.

The bill is not a tax break, it simply extends the sunset on existing law governing the amount of local property taxes that wind farms will pay to local governments. This revenue is increasingly important for rural counties amidst ongoing budget stalemate at the state capitol.

* Rep. Demmer…

Legislation passed by State Representative Tom Demmer (R-Dixon) to extend the process by which wind energy devices are assessed for property taxes, providing stability for both the industry and local taxing districts was signed into law by Governor Rauner on Tuesday.

“I am glad to deliver a stable, predictable method that both local government and wind energy developers can use for the next five years,” said Rep. Demmer. “This helps communities and businesses plan for the future. That is good for taxpayers and good for wind energy employees.”

Prior to the Governor’s enactment of Rep. Demmer’s legislation, the assessment process for wind energy devices was scheduled to sunset in tax year 2016. Under the terms of the legislation, the assessment process will be extended five years, until 2021.

Wendy Ryerson, Chief County Assessment Officer for Lee County and past president of the Illinois Chief County Assessment Officers Association, reacted the passage of SB 2612 in May by stating, “the continuation of the state-wide assessment standard provided by SB 2612 offers stability for taxing districts and wind project owners, and gives assessment officials a proven methodology to follow. It is a win-win for everyone.”

Rep. Demmer’s legislation was supported by the Illinois County Assessment Officers Association, the Fair Assessment Information Resources Committee, and the Illinois Farm Bureau.


  1. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Aug 17, 16 @ 11:15 am:

    No comments? C’mon, people.

  2. - downstate commissioner - Wednesday, Aug 17, 16 @ 11:16 am:

    Good. The main way that wind farms sell their product is by promising the large tax income to the local governments; take that away and it would become a lot less popular. Actually, the way it sounds, we were misled anyway: no mention was made of the “sunset provision” on the tax revenues.

  3. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Aug 17, 16 @ 11:28 am:

    ===C’mon, people.===

    All I got is snark today. Plus, I couldn’t tell what this was from the excerpt. Is it a tax, a tax break or something else?

    If only we could tax the wind coming out of Governor’s Day today. That’d balance the budget pretty quickly.

  4. - Last Bull Moose - Wednesday, Aug 17, 16 @ 11:28 am:

    Slow to comment because it is not clear exactly what the provision does. It reads as if the tax formula for windmills is fixed statewide. That may limit the ability of local governments to increase taxes on the windmills. It may also take the windmills out of the “challenge the assessment” game.

    Am I reading this correctly?

  5. - Huh? - Wednesday, Aug 17, 16 @ 11:55 am:

    I wish we could tax the hot air being blown by 1.4%. It would go a long way to balancing the budget.

  6. - JohnnyPyleDriver - Wednesday, Aug 17, 16 @ 12:11 pm:

    ==The main way that wind farms sell their product is by promising the large tax income to the local governments==

    Well, that, and the thousands of dollars per year to the land owners where they put the things. And traditional energy also provides huge shares of taxes to the local governments. Dynegy leaving East Alton has blown an epic hole in the budgets of Alton, Wood River, and East Alton.

  7. - Illinois Bob - Wednesday, Aug 17, 16 @ 1:16 pm:

    IIRC, there was a ruling that structures could be assessed for tax purposes, but the equipment in them (boilers, nuclear reactors, generators, etc.) cannot be included in the assessment basis. As long as the wind energy industry is playing under the same rules as fossil and nuclear power, it would be fair. The structure and tower for the wind generator should be assessed, the generator, blades and transformer equipment should not.

  8. - Illinois bob - Wednesday, Aug 17, 16 @ 1:17 pm:

    Utility distribution taxes applicable to other retail energy sales should also apply to wind generated power.

  9. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Aug 17, 16 @ 2:57 pm:

    Gov. Rauner, with his veto power, could have cut property taxes on some Illinois businesses by $30 million a year, but chose not to do so.

  10. - Enviro - Wednesday, Aug 17, 16 @ 3:56 pm:

    Governor Rauner made a good decision to extend the local wind farm tax for five years. Illinois should continue to encourage clean energy.

  11. - Illinois Bob - Wednesday, Aug 17, 16 @ 4:20 pm:


    =Illinois should continue to encourage clean energy.=

    Encourage, yes. Subsidize with tax dollars, NO!

  12. - JohnnyPyleDriver - Wednesday, Aug 17, 16 @ 4:36 pm:

    Personally, I’d rather see my tax dollars go to incentivize renewable energy than to cleaning up oil spills, mitigating coal plant pollution, or even to subsidizing some of the richest corporations in the history of the planet. But maybe i’m just a nut like that

  13. - Illinois Bob - Wednesday, Aug 17, 16 @ 5:55 pm:

    @JohnnyPyle Driver

    =Personally, I’d rather see my tax dollars go to incentivize renewable energy than to cleaning up oil spills, mitigating coal plant pollution,=

    Actually, your tax dollars aren’t going for that now. Oil spill clean up is funded by the comp[any responsible, like BP in the Gulf. Coal pollution (mercury, carbon particulate, sulfur dioxide removal, etc.) is funded by the generating company.

    The only place you tax dollars go regarding pollution is where the GOVERNMENT is responsible for the pollution such as the EPA in that mine spill to the river and the radioactive mess from Federal nuclear material mishandling like at the Rocky Flats facility.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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