Governor Strickland focused on advanced energy in his State of the State address on January 26, 2010. Listing Ohio as number one in the nation in green job growth last year, Strickland outlined a handful of projects aimed at growing the industry even further. Aside from creating demonstration projects for advanced energy at two Ohio rest stops, Strickland announced a tax plan and stimulus funding intended to benefit advanced and renewable energy companies.
Elimination of Tangible Personal Property Tax on Wind and Solar
Without providing extensive details, the Governor called for the suspension of Ohio's tangible personal property tax on wind and solar companies that break ground on projects in 2010 and produce energy by 2012.
Currently, Ohio's tax structure creates a tangible personal property tax burden of $39,690 per megawatt for wind and solar. Comparatively, Ohio's neighbors of Pennsylvania and Michigan do not charge tangible personal property taxes for wind and solar projects. In addition, Indiana allows for a 10-year local exemption while West Virginia's tax rate is only slightly more than $6,000 per megawatt.
Wind companies, in particular, have asked the state to modify the current personal property tax structure to make Ohio more competitive with neighboring and other Midwestern states. Changes in the tangible personal property tax will require action by the Ohio General Assembly and it has yet to be seen if legislation supporting this tax policy will be passed this year.
Energy Gateway Fund Stimulus Spending
The Governor also announced the creation of a $40 million "Energy Gateway Fund." The combination state and federal funds will be used to help companies start or expand clean and advanced energy projects in Ohio and will require a one-to-one match with private dollars.Gateway funds will be comprised of $30 million from the federal government, while $10 million will be provided by the State of Ohio.
Projects may include wind, solar, fuel cell, or energy storage technologies. The Gateway Fund is intended to support and accelerate those technologies that are poised and ready for market.