Taxes paid by wind and solar farms will now stay in the local community, thanks to the Missouri legislature’s passage of HB 220. Local schools, fire departments, libraries and more deserve these revenues, and they will no longer be shipped away to the state coffers.
Tax revenue for some commercial wind or solar farms is currently not kept in the local communities. This leaves them with all the burdens but almost no financial benefit. Missouri should adjust state law to ensure the areas that are home to wind or solar farms get the economic benefits.
Missouri state law requires property taxes for wind or solar farms to be equally distributed across the owner’s entire service area. If a publicly-owned utility company like Ameren or KCP&L owns such a facility, the tax revenue from the wind or solar farm could be spread over a huge area rather than concentrated in the county where the farm lies.
Local residents have to deal with all of the downsides of wind or solar farms like damage to local roads, injury to wildlife, noise concerns and changes to the visual landscape. They should receive the benefits of the tax dollars staying local.
In recent years MOFB has worked with the state legislature to ensure that as the state sees increasing wind farms, local communities and the state are prepared. Missouri Farm Bureau asked the University of Missouri Extension to explore wind energy in the state. In response Extension researched and developed a Wind Energy report. We hope this report will help communities avoid some of the issues that have divided areas previously.
In the 2019 legislative session, Senator Cindy O’Laughlin (R-Shelbina) introduced SB 72 and Rep. Allen Andrews (R-Grant City) introduced HB 220. These bills would ensure that taxes from wind turbines or solar farms remain in their local areas. MOFB has been actively supporting both pieces of legislation.
Missouri Farm Bureau Policy
We encourage electric companies and cooperatives to increase their generation of electricity from renewable or green sources such as animal waste, wind, crop by-products, forest biomass and other agricultural residues.
We support real property associated with wind and solar energy projects being assessed as local property.
With the rapid growing wind energy industry, we strongly encourage responsible wind energy development including safe siting of wind turbines in accordance with manufacturers’ recommendations without imposing additional restrictions on neighbors.
We support the formation of an interagency task force to examine these and other issues regarding industrial wind energy complexes and report findings to state legislative committees of jurisdiction.