In response to recent coal plant closures around the state, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) held an Energy Summit to discuss the future of energy policy in Illinois with Senate colleagues Michael E. Hastings (D-Frankfort), Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) and stakeholders from Vistra
One proposal, which Koehler is sponsoring, would freeze property tax rates on coal, gas and nuclear plants at pre-closure rates for a total of five years, ensuring local governments and school districts a consistent source of revenue in the short term. Additionally, it would provide an extra week of unemployment insurance benefits for those who are laid off from their job at a plant or mine.
"Taking care of local governments, school districts and individuals as we transition from coal to solar has to be our top priority," Koehler said. "They are already facing intense challenges, and the lost revenue and higher taxes that would come without a tax freeze on the power plant property are
the last things they should have to worry about."
Another piece of legislation Koehler is supporting would see former coal plant sites transformed into renewable energy stations.
"Coal plant workers are confronting a difficult reality," Koehler said. "Our region experienced a tremendous loss following the closing of the Duck Creek plant in Canton, but I am confident that by transitioning to renewable energy sources we can secure a viable economic future for our communities."
These proposals will likely be a piece of a larger package of energy legislation that could be taken up as early as the fall veto session.