After much debate, Gov. Dave Heineman, D-Neb., reluctantly signed L.B.104 into law.
L.B.104 provides sales tax exemptions for the purchase of wind turbines, towers and other wind farm components. Supporters contend Nebraska lags far behind other states, such as Iowa, Kansas and Oklahoma, in developing wind energy and that without L.B.104, the state will continue to fall behind.
However, much of the debate over the bill's effectiveness in bringing more wind energy, centers around Lenexa, Kan.-based developer TradeWind Energy, which is planning a $300 million to $400 million wind farm in Dixon County, located near the Iowa and South Dakota border.
Heineman openly opposed the bill, indicating the primary reason he signed it was because of a provision preventing an increase in local sales taxes.
‘I signed LB104 into law today because the most important issue in this bill is to protect Omaha taxpayers from a sales tax increase,’ he said. ‘I do not favor the part of this bill that provides a Kansas company a special tax break, when the Legislature didn't provide new, significant tax relief to Nebraskans.
‘As Governor, if I had line-item authority for policy bills similar to my budget line-item authority, I would veto the special tax break for a Kansas company and keep only the portion of the bill that protects Omaha taxpayers from a sales tax increase,’ he continued. ‘Today, the Platte Institute issued a report describing the wind energy portion of this bill as, corporate welfare, and I share that concern. This was a difficult decision, but my most important priority is protecting Nebraskans from a tax increase.’