A sensible amendment to HB 589

One good change from the early version of House Bill 589, which would be a major restructuring of energy policy in North Carolina, is Rep. Jimmy Dixon’s (R-Duplin) amendment that removed a section calling for a study of existing property tax exclusions for solar facilities and possible new ones for swine and poultry waste energy facilities.

Part of the host of favorable public policies that the solar industry has been given by North Carolina lawmakers is one that reduces their property taxes by 80 percent. It certainly needs to be revisited, by which I mean repealed.

It doesn’t need an “economic impact” study; those tend to reach foregone conclusions and have no basis in economics.

Also, there isn’t any need to create a new tax abatement for hog and chicken waste energy facilities. It would merely be another attempt at making the state’s unprecedented, unworkable hog and chicken waste energy requirement under the renewable portfolio standards mandate (REP) somehow work.

Instead, it was another symptom of the need to cap and sunset the REPS mandate.

One other note on the solar property-tax exclusion

The bill’s enormous set-aside for renewable energy in the competitive procurement process would eliminate any arguable justification for retaining this extremely generous property tax exclusion.

It is not “competitive energy” if it is handed a guaranteed part of the resource base and then shielded from property tax rates other businesses face. If anything, the bill should include this line: “G.S. § 105-275(45) is repealed.”

Jon Sanders / Research Editor and Senior Fellow, Regulatory Studies

Jon Sanders studies regulatory policy, a veritable kudzu of invasive government and unintended consequences. As director of regulatory studies at the John Locke Foundation, Jo...