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Nebraska lawmakers have advanced a measure that would remove a barrier to the development and export of wind energy in the state.

The bill, L.B.104, would provide a sales tax exemption for the purchase of turbines, towers and other wind-farm components - which neighboring states such as Iowa, Kansas and Oklahoma have used. The bill was introduced by state Sen. Steve Lathrop, D-Neb., who helped to pass legislation to allow for increased development of wind energy in Nebraska. In 2008, Lathrop helped to pass L.B. 629, which created a rural community-based energy-development program to allow local property owners and communities to develop wind energy projects.

Gov. Dave Heineman, R-Neb., who supports wind energy, says lawmakers should not pass new bills providing tax breaks until the legislature does a proposed study to overhaul Nebraska's tax system. When the legislature's Revenue Committee voted 5-3 to advance the bill in March, Heineman said he was "very disappointed" and accused advocates of supporting tax breaks for out-of-state companies.


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