Topeka Despite soaring oil company profits, the Legislature on Tuesday approved tax breaks for oil refineries and pipelines that could total nearly $40 million.
The measure was sent to Gov. Kathleen Sebelius on overwhelming majorities: 105-15 in the House and 36-2 in the Senate.
Supporters said the proposal would spur expansion of oil refineries in Kansas, lure construction of pipelines through the state and help nitrogen fertilizer plants.
"This is critical to this country to have affordable energy in the future," Sen. Les Donovan, R-Wichita, said.
But Sen. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence, opposed the bill.
"I'm concerned that we develop energy sources for the future, not work to more quickly deplete the current energy sources," Francisco said.
State Rep. Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence, said the tax breaks would help refineries in Kansas make improvements to refine heavy crude from tar sands from Canada.
But Rep. Nile Dillmore, D-Wichita, was less sympathetic.
He said the refining industry purposely had held back on expansion to produce the current demand and resulting high gasoline prices at the pump.
"I'm not going to subsidize that business plan," he said.
The measure would provide income tax credits, accelerated depreciation and property tax exemptions for several types of energy projects, including oil refineries, pipelines, coal gasification power and fertilizer plants.
The tax breaks could total $38 million by 2013, according to a state estimate.