Proposed Nebraska legislation provides a model for encouraging wind development that benefits small business and working rural Americans.
Nebraska sales tax policy today discriminates against wind development by subjecting its equipment to sales tax, while exempting manufacturing and farm equipment. Legislative Bill 104 would fix the problem by providing a sales tax credit on wind equipment – with an important twist.
To earn a 100 percent exemption, wind developers would have to purchase at least one-fourth of their inputs locally or set aside stock for wind farm employees. The incentive to buy local inputs would help new rural businesses get started and existing businesses grow, creating rural jobs and economic opportunity.
Encouraging employee stock ownership would enable rural working people to share in the wealth created by wind development. That enhances the economic and social value of wind development.
Research documents that asset ownership is as important as income in enabling low and moderate-income families to permanently avoid poverty. It provides the cushion for families to weather economic storms and a foundation on which to build for the future.
Employee ownership is a proven concept adopted in some of the nation’s premier companies, with employee-owned companies performing better on most measures of economic performance. The pride and commitment that come with ownership make a difference.