Shumlin says Senate support likely on Vermont Yankee tax

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(Host) Senate president Peter Shumlin says it’s likely that the Senate will support a new plan proposed by the House to tax Vermont Yankee to help finance an expansion of energy efficiency programs.

The Senate originally backed the imposition of a windfall profits tax on Vermont Yankee but the proposal has been strongly criticized by Yankee officials and Governor Jim Douglas.

The House has developed a new approach – it’s one that taxes the generating capacity of the Vernon plant. It’s estimated that the new tax could raise between 15 and 25 million dollars.

Speaking last night on VPRs Switchboard program, House Speaker Gaye Symington said the plan makes a lot of sense and is fair to Vermont Yankee:

(Symington) “I think we’re simply looking at having some consistency as we treat Vermont Yankee which is what I heard Vermont Yankee asking for. Don’t single us out and treat us differently. That was what started us on this question of let’s look at the generation tax and how does that compare with other producers of electricity and how we’re treating them.”

(Host) Senate president Peter Shumlin says he supports the approach taken by the House.

(Shumlin) “Absolutely, my bottom line is that I believe those who are serious about global warming as the Speaker just said have to be willing to run the run. I say run the run because you can talk to Bill McKibben, you can talk to any of the experts – they’ll tell you that we might have 8 to10 years if we scramble to get off our addiction to oil which will possibly save our children and grandchildren from catastrophic circumstances.”

(Host) A House Senate conference committee is expected to work out the details of the new plan later today.

Vermont Yankee officials say they’ll strongly oppose the new approach because it unfairly applies a new tax to their facility.

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