Kansas Legislature mulls slashing green energy incentives

Kansas renewable energy groups say that proposed tax increases would threaten the young industry’s existence.

Two bills before the Kansas Legislature would remove tax incentives for renewable energy investments by shortening a lifetime property tax exemption for wind and solar farms and imposing a 4.33 percent excise tax on ethanol fuel and renewable electricity.

Ethanol producers say the tax could force plant closures and would have ripple effects in the agricultural sector.

But the state is facing a state budget shortfall of nearly $600 million in the fiscal year beginning July 1. Conservatives in the Legislature who have traditionally opposed tax increases now say that renewable energy is one sector they don’t mind turning to for revenue.