HB 1072 Conferees Appointed; Will Chairman Espich Keep Indiana Solar PV Property Tax Exemption in HB 1072? March 6, 2012Posted by Laura Arnold in 2012 Indiana General Assembly, Feed-in Tariffs (FiT), Uncategorized.
Tags: Indiana HB 1072 Conference Committee, Indiana solar pv property tax exemption
UPDATE: The Conference Committee for HB 1072 will be TODAY (3/6/2012) at 4:00 pm in Room 404 of the State House.
To watch on-line, please see http://www.in.gov/legislative/2441.htm
The 2012 session of the Indiana General Assembly is entering its final week where the focus turns to Conference Committees to reconcile differences between the House and Senate versions of bills passed in their respective houses.
After a bill passes Third Reading or final passage in both houses, it returns to the “house of origin” and the original bill author. In the case of HB 1072, it returns to Rep. Jeff Espich (R-Uniondale). Espich then has two choices; 1) concur with the changes made in the second house followed by a roll call vote; or 2) dissent and have a conference committee appointed to reconcile the differences. Espich filed a dissent motion for HB 1072 and the conference committee members or conferees have been appointed as follows:
The conference committee then meets at the will of the Chairman, in this case, Espich. The four conferees meet with their appointed advisors and work on a new version of HB 1072. Subject matter or content that has passed third reading in at least one House is eligible to be inserted into the Conference Committee Report (CCR). For example, it is believed that the tax credit for the controversial Indiana Gasification, LLC plant in Rockport, Indiana, may be inserted into HB 1072. The subject matter concerning Indiana Gasification, LLC was a part of SB 344 when it passed third reading in the Senate but it was removed by an amendment in the House Ways and Means Committee. (See http://wp.me/pMRZi-CI) Later SB 344 was not called down for second reading in the House (31 amendments had been filed). Therefore, SB 344 died. But most of the subject matter had already been inserted into HB 1072 in the Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee by Sen. Hershman. HB 1072 then passed third reading in the Senate.
HB 1072 now contains the property tax exemption for solar photovoltaic (PV) devices, however, with a simple stroke of a pen Rep. Espich can have the language removed from his proposed version of the Conference Committee Report (CCR). Rep. Espich already removed the solar PV property tax exemption once in SB 344 in the House Ways and Means Committee. The $64,000 question is will Espich remove the solar PV property tax exemption again from the CCR for HB 1072 or will he permit it to stay?
As the conferees on HB 1072 meet, all four conferees must agree to a particular version of the revised bill known as a Conference Committee Report (CCR). After all four signatures are obtained, the CCR returns to both the House and the Senate for another roll call vote. There is no opportunity to amend a CR when it goes back to the House and the Senate. It is an up or down roll call vote. This is where the legislative process becomes like a tarantella becoming faster and faster until the end.
There is a strong rationale for extending the property tax exemption to solar PV since it is already in effect for solar thermal, wind power devices and geothermal. Last session, however, Sen. Hershman amended the property tax exemption for wind systems so that the property tax exemption cannot be used if the owner is participating in a feed-in tariff program. Attempts were made to amend this language in the House Ways and Means Committee on SB 344 but these efforts proved unsuccessful. Hershman indicated that this issue should be addressed by “introducing a bill next session.” And then SB 344 died in the House.
If your state legislator is either a conferee or an advisor, I strongly urge that you contact them immediately and express support for the inclusion of the solar PV property tax exemption in the CCR for HB 1072. Just follow the hyperlink to their official website listed above. You may also want to follow up with a phone call to their Legislative Assistant (L.A.) If you need help finding this information, please contact me via LArnold@indy.rr.com or (317) 635-1701.
To better understand the Indiana General Assembly state legislative processes please see this document prepared by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. It contains a flow chart which attempts to explain the legislative process in Indiana as well as providing an excellent glossary of terms. How a bill becomes a law
For more information about the Indiana General Assembly, please visit http://www.in.gov/legislative.