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Industry News

Kansas Passes Power Plant Tax Break Legislation

LCG, May 7, 2001Forty-nine states are learning the basic economics law of supply and demand from California, and Kansas is no exception. The state House of Representatives passed two bills Saturday providing incentives for companies to build new power plants and transmission facilities.

The measures passed in the 125-member House by margins of around 100 votes. On Friday, the state Senate has approved the initiatives 40-0. The measures are on their way to Gov. Bill Graves, who is expected to sign them.

One of the bills gives long-term tax breaks to both Kansas regulated utilities and independent power producers for building new power plants. Utilities would receive 10-year property tax breaks and independent power producers' new plants would be exempt from property taxes for 12 years.

Supporters of the legislation said the incentives, and the new generation they will encourage, are badly needed. "All of our utilities say that around the year 2005 Kansas will be short of power" said Republican state Rep. Tom Sloan, vice chairman of the Kansas House Utilities Committee.

State Rep. Carl Holmes, who as chairman of the House Utilities Committee was the driving force behind the bills along with his Senate counterpart, Stan Clark. Both Republicans said seven companies are considering plants in Kansas.

"They are waiting on this bill," Holmes said. "This doesn't guarantee power plants will be built here, but it puts us in the running."

Among companies interested in building new generation in Kansas are Duke Energy Corp. of North Carolina, UtiliCorp United Inc. of Missouri and the home-state Sunflower Electric Power Cooperative.

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