Legislators in the Great State of Wyoming have begun the process of the realization of the dream of King Canute, who famously tried without success to “command the tides of the sea.” Their plan? To tax the wind! Brilliant! We’ve had water taxes forever, so why not make the wind pay up too?
It seems that Wyoming, a state that has enjoyed the good fortune to have recently undergone an energy boom with natural gas, has once again overcome being “only Wyoming,” as the other 49 states refer to it, and have built themselves a sizable wind energy industry, making lemonade out of the lemons of being an almost deserted and wind-swept backwater of America.
Eager to rehabilitate their state’s lousy image after having contributed America’s only dictator to our history, one Shotgun Dick Cheney, Wyoming is trying to figure out how to most equitably tax the wind. In an area larger than Austria but sparsely populated by a mere half a million souls, Wyoming has long been in the minds of Americans, well, not really there at all, just some place mentioned frequently in a childhood full of bad Western movies, and rarely, if ever, afterwards.
Taxing the wind seems like a pretty formidable task, but unlike King Canute, who commanded the tides to illustrate even a king’s powerlessness over the forces of nature, these people are serious and mean business. Or at least the business of the power companies harnessing the wind. The fact that the central power companies purchase a lot of power from independent land owners who have installed giant wind turbines on their giant empty windswept Wyoming ranches further complicates their task. Who do you tax the most?
Of course they want to do this right, and not seem foolish before the rest of the nation, and so Wyomans’ (or is it “Wyomingans?” Or is it “Who gives a rat’s ass?”) have not asked their most famous son to weigh in on this issue. Shotgun Dick’s approach to taxation has always been to bleed the working classes mercilessly and leave the very wealthy untaxed. Like the rest of our fine nation, they need another rash of property foreclosures about as much as a kangaroo needs another glove compartment.
The nation watches as an emerging industry takes shape, both in corporate structure and in relation to the government under which it operates. It would be nice for a semi-nonentity of a state to provide the rest of our nation with a working model of alternative energy infrastructure. These new technologies will be of great importance to this nation and the world, and someone has to begin to sort out how all this will work. We welcome Wyoming to provide us with something other that a dictator and fuzzy memories of “varmints and bushwackers” from old movies. Tax the wind, indeed.