Sen. Cindy O’Laughlin’s Wind Farm Tax Bill Could Mean Millions of Dollars for Local Counties

JEFFERSON CITY — Among dozens of pieces of legislation awaiting the governor’s signature, Sen. Cindy O’Laughlin, R-Shelbina and Sen. Ed Emery, R-Lamar, carried a measure that could mean millions of dollars in property tax revenues for local counties.

Once signed, House Bill 220 would allow property taxes on wind farms to stay in local communities, regardless of ownership. Currently, if a public utility owns a wind farm, the taxes generated by the operation are distributed to the areas the utility serves. In addition, the bill creates the Task Force on Wind Energy. The focus of this group will be to study the economic benefits and drawbacks of wind turbines and look into a uniform property tax assessment policy for wind farms across the state.

“For northeast Missouri, where counties are often strapped for cash, these wind farms generate valuable resources. If signed, this will keep tax dollars local, where these wind farms exist,” said Sen. O’Laughlin.

A new wind farm in Adair and Schuyler Counties prompted local leaders in Kirksville to ask legislators, like Sen. O’Laughlin, to ensure the property tax on these developments stayed local. Kirksville Regional Economic Development, Inc. (K-REDI), helped lead the effort to build a coalition for a statewide remedy.

During the 2019 legislative session, the bill received little to no opposition in both the Missouri House of Representatives and the Missouri Senate. The legislation also received support from developers such as EDF and Invenergy, public utilities, county governments and the Missouri Farm Bureau.