The House Ways and Means Committee heard from Sen. Chris Widener (R-Springfield) on why his SB232, passed last week
by the full Senate, is the right tax treatment to facilitate renewable energy projects in the state and meet Ohio’s renewable
energy benchmarks as set out in 127-SB221 (Schuler).
Widener opened his remarks by stating that while both the House and the Senate have been trying to work out their
differences on this issue, he feels his tax code plan makes the state more competitive for wind and solar projects.
According to the senator, 127-SB221 mandates that 5,778 megawatts (MW) are generated by 2025, with wind energy
accounting for 2,889 MW generated within Ohio. Currently, Ohio has about 7 MW of wind in production.
“We have a long way to go,” he said. “The bill will give Ohio the needed edge to attract renewable energy companies in the
short-term and fulfill its long-term goal of becoming a leader in the growing renewable sector.”
Widener explained that while Ohio was creating a new energy policy in 2007 and 2008 to facilitate renewable energy
projects, neighboring states were changing their tax codes to be competitive in attracting wind and solar developers.
He cited, as in previous testimony given to his Senate colleagues, that “all neighboring states have lower tax rates” and
Ohio has the highest tax rate per megawatt – $40,000. Pennsylvania’s tax per megawatt is $3,900 and Illinois’ tax per
megawatt is set at $9,000. Widener proposes in SB232 that the tax rate per megawatt be set at $7,000.
Widener concluded that Ohio is in “real danger of losing these jobs to other states” if the tax structure is not changed.
Rep. Matt Huffman (R-Lima) commented that changing the tax code for renewable energy projects not only affects local
schools and governments, but also health and park districts.
“Yes, it is fair to say none of them are excited by SB232,” Widener said. “But we have a timeframe set out in SB221 and we
need to get this going.” He added that if the county commissioners don’t like the $7,000 per megawatt number, the
authority was given to them in SB232 to negotiate and change it.
Committee members were scheduled to hear testimony for HB464 after the House session, however Chairman Tom Letson
(D-Warren) cancelled the post-session hearing in lieu of meeting next week.