Tax Dollars And Sense

Odd Bedfellows Oppose the Tenaska Tax

By Brian Imus
State Director

Illinois PIRG and the Illinois Chamber of Commerce don't always see eye to eye. But recently, Illinois PIRG joined with the Illinois Chamber of Commerce to oppose Senate Bill 678 – legislation that would force Illinois consumers to pay for a proposed coal plant the Tenaska Corporation wants to build in Taylorville Illinois. This Tenaska Tax would be an unneeded subsidy for overpriced energy that would harm Illinois’ environment.

For individuals and families in Illinois, the legislation amounts to a Tenaska Tax that would cost $110 million a year in increased electricity prices. And since this legislation creates a long-term contract to pay for this project, consumers would be paying every year for the next 30 years – in all, the Tenaska Tax would add up to $3.3 billion in new direct costs to consumers.
Utility bills for government and businesses in Illinois will see the largest direct impact. For example the electricity expenses for the Chicago Public Schools will increase by over $1.6 million per year specifically for the Tenaska project.

Illinois consumers are struggling to make ends meet – with rising costs across the board and stagnant wages. Tenaska was the 25th leading private company in America by revenue last year, bringing in just under $10 billion. It’s outrageous they are asking Illinoisans to subsidize this project when they won’t see any of the benefits.

Right now families across Illinois are busy preparing their taxes. There’s no reason for legislators in Springfield to declare another tax day – a Tenaska Tax day – that will only pile on the costs.
That’s why Illinois PIRG is happy to join the broad coalition of organizations in opposition to the costly and unnecessary project. On behalf of consumers and Illinois taxpayers, we call on lawmakers to vote no on SB 678.

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