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Repeal sought for renewable energy project tax breaks

PIERRE — The state Revenue Department wants to end a tax break that was intended to promote commercial development of electricity from renewable resources such as sun, wind, geothermal and biomass.

It set the contractor excise tax rate at 1 percent for such projects. The standard rate is 2 percent.

The incentive has been used one time, the department’s Alison Jares told a legislative panel Friday. That was in 2003. The Legislature passed the law in 2002.

Jares said project developers used other programs instead. She said the Building South Dakota program, which was passed in 2013, offers the potential for broader tax relief.

The Senate Taxation Committee held a hearing Friday on the repeal legislation. No one stepped forward to testify other than Jares.

“Life is good. No opponents,” remarked Sen. Ernie Otten, RTea. He is the committee chairman.

The committee endorsed SB 55 and put it on the Senate consent calendar. That means the legislation will be considered without debate unless a senator requests it.