The Joint Finance Committee will begin voting on individual items for the 2019-2021 State Budget starting on May 9th. Joint Finance is where nearly all of the key decisions about this year’s budget will be made. Your help is needed to ensure that pro-renewable energy issues remain in the final Joint Finance budget package!
Legislators on Joint Finance are especially important to the final decisions, but every legislator will have a vote in their respective partisan caucus and can impact what happens behind those closed doors. Your legislator could be the key voice and key vote that keeps one or more of these provisions in the Budget!
Please call or write to your legislators and urge them to support the electric vehicle and renewable energy provisions in the budget!
Items Under Consideration for Inclusion in the Budget
Some energy items from Governor Evers’ budget have already been removed including establishing the Office of Sustainability and Clean Energy, Utility Contribution for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Resource Programs, and State Carbon-Free Electricity Goal.
The following items still have a chance of being in the final bill if we can generate support for them:
- Allocate $10 million of the VW Settlement Funds for EV Charging Station Grants: The Assembly GOP announced that they have a similar proposal for the VW money, but with slightly different details. Despite bipartisan support for funding EV charging stations, there are powerful entities who oppose this provision, or any money at all going to EV charging station infrastructure and are suggesting the money go to retrofitting diesel trucks instead!
- Adds a $75 registration fee for all hybrid vehicles, not just PHEV’s: All hybrid vehicles (any vehicle that uses a battery to increase fuel economy) would pay an additional $75 annual fee that was originally designed to cover only Plug-in-Hybrid Vehicles. Battery-only electric vehicles (BEV’s) currently pay an additional $100 annual fee on top of the regular registration fee. The additional hybrid fee is designed to recover the gas taxes* that would have been paid if these vehicles were powered by gasoline only. There is currently a lobby effort being made to increase the registration fee on pure electric vehicles from $100 to $300 per year, which RENEW Wisconsin strongly opposes!
(*Wisconsin’s current state excise tax rate dedicated to transportation is 30.9 cents per gallon. When the state’s petroleum clean-up program fee is added, total state taxes and fees collected at the pump are 32.9 cents per gallon)
- Allocate $50 million to fund energy conservation projects and $25 million for renewable energy projects on state-owned facilities. These funds would help state agencies and the UW System meet their energy conservation goals and reduce utility bills. The savings from the reduced utility costs would be used to pay for these energy conservation and renewable energy projects!
- Increase Intervenor Compensation Funding: The bill increases from $300,000 to $500,000 the annual grants the PSC is allowed to make to nonprofit entities that advocate on behalf of utility ratepayers. There are numerous important cases coming before the PSC in the next few years on issues such utility rate increases, renewable energy projects, coal plant closings and electric vehicles rules. It is important that ratepayers have a strong voice at the table when these critical issues are being decided.
- Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency or Renewable Energy: The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC) would be allowed to award business tax credits of 5% for investments made on projects that improve energy efficiency or that generate energy from renewable resources. These investments will help Wisconsin businesses reduce their energy usage, save money and create jobs, which is good for everyone!
Thank you for your help in getting these items included in the final budget bill! If you have any questions or would like more information about any of these energy related issues please contact Jim Boullion, RENEW Wisconsin’s Director of Government Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call at (608) 695-7004.