The State of Ohio on Wednesday took a big step toward lowering the barriers to entry for building/installing renewable energy facilities across the state. Governor Ted Strickland issued an Executive Order eliminating the state’s tangible personal tax and real property tax for advanced and renewable energy project facilities. The move comes as Strickland is mired in a tough race against Republican challenger John Kasich.Ohio Governor Ted Strickland

"As Ohio residents and businesses are fighting hard to recover from the crippling Wall Street recession, we must give promising companies every reason to develop and invest in Ohio as quickly as possible," Strickland said in a news release.

"I signed this order to implement these rules and help spur business investment immediately. This tax reform is part of our economic development strategy to strengthen Ohio's business climate and help create jobs for Ohioans in our growing industries like advanced energy," said Strickland

Elimination of the taxes will apply to projects that begin construction before Jan. 1, 2012; produce energy by 2013, or 2017 for nuclear, clean coal and cogeneration projects; and create jobs in Ohio.

During a meeting last week with the Dayton Daily News editorial board, Republican John Kasich indicated he would repeal the state's renewable energy standard that requires 25 percent of the electricity used in the state to come from "advanced energy sources" like wind, solar, biomass, nuclear and so-called 'clean coal' if they proved too costly for utility companies and consumers, a position later tempered by Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols.

Governor Strickland seized the opportunity and criticized Kasich's unclear position on renewables saying the candidate talks off the cuff and without detail. “It is an example of shallow and uninformed rhetoric,” Governor Strickland said.

Wednesday's move by Strickland is the latest in a series of executive orders designed to both curry favor with the party faithful and woo swing voters, in what is shaping up to be a tight race against Republican Kasich. The most high profile move yet came earlier this month when Strickland issued an executive order banning state government outsourcing, prohibiting any Ohio cabinet agency, board or commission from purchasing services outsourced to other countries.

Kasich's lead over Strickland has narrowed significantly in recent weeks, shrinking to about 4 points, down from his biggest lead of 11 percentage points, according to the latest Real Clear Politics polling averages.

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