JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Proposed federal standards for carbon dioxide emissions are helping fuel some Missouri lawmakers' arguments for enacting a specific state sales tax break on equipment used in electricity transmission.
A sales tax exemption for poles, wires and transformers used by power companies is among several tax breaks passed this year by the Republican-led Missouri Legislature. Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon criticized the series of cuts as a "cavalcade of special interest tax breaks" that he says could hamper state and local government finances.
Supporters say the proposal seeks to ensure equipment used in transmitting electricity is treated similarly to other manufacturing equipment that already is eligible for a sales tax exemption, avoid potential litigation and reduce costs for consumers.
House Majority Leader John Diehl said the emission standards announced this past week by the Environmental Protection Agency could require significant investments in Missouri. He said a state tax burden shouldn't be added to that.
The federal emissions standards set a goal for Missouri of reducing carbon dioxide emissions from power plants 21 percent by 2030. More than 79 percent of Missouri's electricity was generated by burning coal in 2012, and the EPA says carbon dioxide emissions were 1,963 pounds per megawatt hour. The agency's goal would reduce that to 1,544 pounds per megawatt hour in 2030.
Diehl, a Republican from Town and Country, said the sales tax break likely wouldn't offset all the costs "but every little bit helps, and we want to try to provide as much relief to the ratepayers as we can."
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