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Introduced Version - Originating in Committee Senate Concurrent Resolution 57 History

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SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 57

(By Senators Unger, Jenkins, Barnes, D. Facemire, K. Facemyer, Fanning, Plymale, Stollings and White)


[Originating in the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure; reported April 6, 2009.]


Requesting the Joint Committee on Government and Finance study a proposed new state business and occupation tax on high-voltage electric power transmission lines.

Whereas, The constitutionality of Senate Bill No. 505 or House Bill No. 3000 introduced in the 2009 regular session of the West Virginia Legislature or similar bills in the near future, if passed, will likely be challenged in federal court as an unlawful restraint on interstate commerce; and
Whereas,
The proposed TrAIL line subject to the proposed West Virginia business and occupation tax would not be operational before 2011 and the proposed PATH line subject to the proposed West Virginia business and occupation tax would not be operational before 2013 and, consequently, the Legislature has adequate time to fully study the implications of a proposed new West Virginia business and occupation tax on high-voltage electric power transmission; and
Whereas, Any new state tax on high-voltage interstate transmission lines regulated under federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) rate tariffs may be interpreted by other states in the PJM Interconnection as an attempt by the State of West Virginia to circumvent the FERC rate regime and would prompt retaliatory impositions of taxes on those lines by other states; and
Whereas, West Virginia ratepayers would bear the burden of the initial cost of those extra high-voltage transmission lines, the taxes imposed by Senate Bill No. 505 or House Bill No. 3000 and the retaliatory taxes imposed by other states; and
Whereas, The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has determined that FERC may not assert federal eminent domain power if the West Virginia Public Service Commission declines to issue a certificate of need for an interstate high- voltage transmission line regulated by FERC; and
Whereas, The current certificate of need application process at the West Virginia Public Service Commission does not take into account the full range of direct and indirect impacts of the siting of high-voltage transmission lines as defined in Senate Bill No. 505 and House Bill No. 3000; and
Whereas, Current and future developments in conservation, demand-side management and increased power generation capacity in the eastern sector of the PJM Interconnection may render the need for the PATH and TrAIL transmission lines obsolete; and
Whereas, State governments and public utility regulators in the eastern end of the PJM Interconnection are challenging FERC mandates to financially support interstate transmission lines such as PATH and TrAIL; and
Whereas, The West Virginia Legislature needs a thorough investigation of the current status of national, regional and state policy and financial implications of high-voltage transmission lines as defined in Senate Bill No. 505 and House Bill No. 3000 before acting unilaterally to impose a special new West Virginia business and occupation tax on these high-voltage electric power transmission lines; therefore, be it
Resolved by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Joint Committee on Government and Finance is hereby requested to study
a proposed new state business and occupation tax on high-voltage electric power transmission lines; and, be it
Further Resolved, That the Joint Committee on Government and Finance may seek input from experts and other resources appropriate to these studies; and, be it
Further Resolved, That the Joint Committee on Government and Finance report to the regular session of the Legislature, 2010, on its findings, conclusions and recommendations, together with drafts of any legislation necessary to effectuate its recommendations; and, be itFurther Resolved, That the expenses necessary to conduct this study, to prepare a report and to draft necessary legislation be paid from legislative appropriations to the Joint Committee on Government and Finance.

enter text of resolution
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