Nebraska Legislature Adopts Sales Tax Incentive for Renewable Energy Projects
Renewable energy played its most prominent role yet in the Nebraska Legislature in 2013. This culminated in the Legislature passing Legislative Bill 104, which provides a sales tax refund to a renewable energy project that entails at least $20,000,000 of investment. This puts Nebraska relatively even with neighboring states that offer sales tax exemptions or refunds, but it still leaves Nebraska behind states that offer additional incentives. It also misses an opportunity that another bill, Legislative Bill 402, offered. That bill also provided sales tax relief for renewable energy projects, but it required qualification through the use of certain, gradually increasing levels of Nebraska inputs and investment. By encouraging Nebraska inputs and investment, LB 402 doubled the benefits of LB 104 in that it would incentivize the renewable energy project while also incentivizing the growth of the support industries that would serve the local input and investment function. Not surprisingly, a broad coalition of large wind developers, landowners, Nebraska businesses and public power supported LB 402. An effort to replace LB 104 with LB 402 late in the legislative session fell four votes short, however. Regardless of legislative maneuvering, LB 104 is a significant step forward for Nebraska’s ability to compete with its neighbors for renewable energy development.