Late push for Energy Star

With only six legislative days remaining, time is limited to get long-languishing bills passed, and the sales tax holiday for Energy Star appliances is part of a late-session surge.

The House Ways and Means Education Committee will hold a public hearing on the Energy Star legislation at 9 a.m. May 2 in Room 617 of the Statehouse. The legislation, which is one of Conservation Alabama’s top legislative priorities this session, would create a state sales tax holiday on Energy Star-rated appliances during the back-to-school sales tax holiday in early August. As Alabama ranks high for energy inefficiency, the sales tax holiday would encourage citizens to purchase energy efficient appliances to help save money and reduce energy consumption. Similar sales tax holidays have been popular in other Southeastern states such as Georgia and North Carolina, and the tax revenue lost on Energy Star appliances is more than made up by increased revenue off of non-sales tax exempt items. The bill is a win for consumers, the state, and the environment.

Wednesday is a busy day for conservation related items. Beyond the sales tax holiday bill, several other items are on committee agendas:

– A bill to provide tax incentives for the purchase of compressed natural gas vehicles will have a public hearing in the same committee meeting;
– A bill that will provide incentives for other alternative fuel vehicles also will have a public hearing before the same committee meeting;
– A public hearing is slated for a bill that would require the Alabama Department of Transportation to consider the life-cycle costs of major infrastructure projects before the legislature allocates funding;
– A proposed constitutional amendment to redirect Forever Wild funding to child abuse and vocational programs will be the subject of a public hearing; and
– A bill to limit environmental regulation because of United Nation’s conspiracy fears is in committee Wednesday afternoon.

Finally, other bills such as the proposal to extend the landfill moratorium another year is awaiting a final vote by the Senate. And a bill to require certain industries to have a toxic waste performance bond is expected to be voted on by the House. Only days remain, but there is plenty of life left in conservation-related legislation this session.

You can follow legislation related to the environment each week on Conservation Alabama’s Hot List at conservationalabama.org.

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