The Massachusetts Municipal Association issued this alert today –
LEGISLATURE’S FINAL ENERGY BILL PRESERVES LOCAL TAXING AUTHORITY
In a significant victory for cities and towns, the final energy bill developed by a joint House-Senate conference committee, preserves the ability of communities to collect property taxes on solar and renewable energy facilities.
The MMA and local officials across the state have been communicating with legislators all year, expressing grave concerns about provisions in earlier versions of the bill passed by the House and Senate that would have exempted certain renewable energy facilities, including commercial solar facilities, from the property tax. Instead, communities would have been allowed to collect a much lower PILOT equal to 5 percent of electricity sales. In essence, the previous versions of the legislation would have provided developers with a windfall, and reduced important revenues that communities collect and use to pay for critical local services.
The members of the conference committee (Reps. Keenan, Hogan and Beaton, and Sens. Downing, Brewer and Hedlund) heard the message loud and clear, and removed the tax provisions from the final bill.
The Legislature is expected to enact the compromise energy bill as soon as today, and send it to the Governor.
Please call your legislators today and thank them for protecting local decision-making and taxing authority.
On another important municipal issue, the Governor last week signed the “terms bill” for the $200 million fiscal 2013 Chapter 90 local road fund distribution that was authorized by separate legislation signed in June. With both bills now law, cities and towns can begin signing contracts for local Chapter 90 projects based on the provisional apportionment letters sent by MassDOT to cities and towns on April 1.