The Business Council opposes this legislation, which would treat a specific category of tangible property – spent nuclear fuel – as real property, and seemingly invites local assessing units to assess and apply real property taxes to such tangible property that is stored at any inactivated nuclear power plant once the bill becomes effective on January 1, 2021.
We have several concerns about the bill:
It would establish a damaging precedent. New York’s local real property taxes are among the highest imposed anywhere in the U.S. Our ranking would be even worse if we also imposed a personal property tax. In this bill, the state proposed to do just that, albeit for a narrow category of tangible property. Nonetheless, the State Legislature should not be proposing to extent high real property taxes to tangible personal property. Further, the “A” print of this bill adds language that would allow local taxing authorities to assess the spent nuclear fuel at a “rate that reflects the best possible use of those lands,” for the simple purpose of securing local budgets. Forced valuation of local assets is not a sustainable nor prudent mechanism for localities to employ over true economic growth and development, nor is the imposition of patently punitive penalties.
We also question the apparent motivation of this bill. According to the bill memo’s “justification,” it is at least in part driven by a concern about the lack of progress by the federal government to establish a national spent fuel disposal site. Imposing an additional tax burden on in-state facilities will do nothing to motivate federal action, nor will it impact a facility owner’s ability to secure an alternative storage or disposal site.
As a final point, The Business Council strongly supports the continued operation of New York State's existing nuclear facilities due to the significant environmental, economic and electric reliability attributes provided by the continued operation of these facilities.
For these reasons, The Business Council opposes adoption of S.3443-A (Harckham).