UPDATED: Connecticut lawmakers question electricity tax

Hartford -- A bipartisan group of 18 state lawmakers and several southeastern Connecticut municipal and business leaders announced their combined opposition Wednesday to a proposed state tax on electricity generators that would specifically target the Millstone nuclear power station in Waterford.

Plant owner Dominion Resources Inc., of Richmond, Va., has said the tax, if enacted, would force it to close one or more of the facility’s operating reactors. Of the $342 million that the tax is projected to raise, $332 million would come from Millstone, company officials say.

State Sen. Andrea Stillman, D-Waterford, said at Wednesday’s news conference that the proposed tax sends an anti-business message about Connecticut and would discourage future investment in the state.

The bill “would send our entire state in absolutely the wrong direction in regards to economic development,” Stillman said.

Waterford First Selectman Dan Steward said Dominion represents about 30 percent of the town’s tax base, or $20 million a year of property tax. He said the uncertainty surrounding the tax and a potential plant shutdown may already be costing the town money as it proceeds to issue bonds for school projects.

One firm, which holds about $35 million of the town’s municipal bonds, has been calling the town almost daily with concerns.
“Our bond rating is already being affected by just the presence of this bill,” Steward said.

The legislature's Energy and Technology Committee moved the bill last month.  It has yet to be taken up.

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