By Missouri Governor Matt Blunt

Improving energy efficiency conserves resources and leads to a healthier environment. It can also save you money on your energy bills. And soon, purchasing an energy efficient appliance could help Missourians save even more.

I have proposed a Show-Me Green Tax Holiday to encourage Missourians to consider environmentally responsible products and reward their choice of these energy efficient products by making them sales-tax free for one week every year.

I believe we have an obligation to protect our environment. The natural resources and healthy environment that we enjoy today are not ours alone. We hold them in trust for future generations.

As governor, I have worked to ensure that our generation leaves Missouri‘s environment in better shape for our children and grandchildren. That is one of the reasons why I have been such a strong supporter of ethanol and biodiesel. And it is also why I supported the Green Power Initiative, a law I signed last year so that, by 2020, 11 percent of the energy used in our state will be produced from renewable sources.

We must always remember, however, that there are two sides to the energy equation. We can get our energy from greener sources, and we can also improve energy efficiency. We are doing both. I started an energy efficiency initiative within state government to save taxpayers money. The partnership launched last year will create renewable energy and heat using byproducts from the Jefferson City Landfill. Methane gas from the landfill will be converted to electricity, and the heat created by conversion facilities will be used to heat water for the state prison. The project uses resources that otherwise have been wasted while at the same time producing benefits for the environment, the state, the prison and local communities.

To encourage Missourians to make more environmentally responsible choices I support legislation to create a Show-Me Green Tax Holiday to eliminate sales taxes on Energy-Star certified efficient appliances. This will give Missouri consumers additional incentive to buy energy-efficient products. National surveys have revealed that Energy Star appliances can reduce utility bills by as much as 30 percent, or an average of $435 per Missouri household every year.

Creating the Show-Me Green Sales Tax Holiday will push Missouri to the forefront of a national effort to encourage greater energy efficiency. We would be just the fourth state after Florida, Connecticut, and Virginia to place this forward-looking legislation into statute.

I also support legislation working its way through the legislative process that establishes a one-time sales tax holiday to help benefit Missouri families by exempting all items $600 or less from state and local sales taxes June 27 through June 29, 2008. The sales tax holiday would follow the delivery of stimulus rebate checks to Missouri taxpayers from the federal government.

The Show-Me Green Tax Holiday not only will save Missouri‘s families money, but will help lower their monthly energy bills and help protect our environment. I encourage the Missouri legislature to support this effort to encourage Missourians to purchase more energy-efficient appliances tax free, ultimately lowering their monthly energy bills.

The above content reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily the policies of the National Governors Association.