coal plant 082020

CANTON – In response to recent coal plant closures around the state, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) held an Energy Summit to discuss the future of energy policy in Illinois with Senate colleagues Michael E. Hastings (D-Frankfort), Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) and stakeholders from Vistra Energy.


One proposal, which Koehler is sponsoring and Manar is co-sponsoring, would freeze property tax rates on coal, gas, and nuclear plants at pre-closure rates for a total of five years, ensuring local governments and school districts a consistent source of revenue in the short term. Additionally, it would provide an extra week of unemployment insurance benefits for those who are laid off from their job at a plant or mine.

“Taking care of local governments, school districts and individuals as we transition from coal to solar has to be our top priority,” Koehler said. “They are already facing intense challenges, and the lost revenue and higher taxes that would come without a tax freeze on the power plant property are the last things they should have to worry about.”

“The task of providing relief to communities that have been directly harmed by the decision to shut down power plants has fallen to the legislature,” Manar said. “As we move forward to confront this challenge, our goals must include providing middle class families, local governments and school districts with as much leeway as possible to ease their revenue losses and tax burdens.” 

Senator Michael E. Hastings, who chairs the Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee, called for a plan that would create job opportunities for people displaced by plant closures while transitioning several downstate communities to an increased role in generating renewable energy.

“Working class families and communities have relied on these plants for generations,” Hastings said. “With more potential plant closures looming, we have to find a way to preserve jobs, transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy resources, and maintain an economic base within the communities.”

These proposals will likely be a piece of a larger package of energy legislation that could be taken up as early as the fall veto session.