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News & Press: Member Co-op News

Lobbying makes a difference

Tuesday, November 6, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Shari Wormwood
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More than 30 CEOs and directors travelled to Washington D.C. this fall to lobby Minnesota’s U.S. Senators and Representatives on several issues important to electric cooperatives. One of the issues discussed was the change to the tax code passed in the 2017 tax bill, which could unintentionally cause cooperatives to lose their tax-exempt status under the 85/15 revenue test if they accept FEMA or broadband grants.

Under that test, no more than 15 percent of a tax-exempt electric cooperative’s revenue could come from sources other than selling energy. Historically, government grants were not generally considered as coming from other sources. Unfortunately, the amendment to the tax code now seems to categorize government grants into this threshold test.


While the problem has yet to be fixed, your lobbying has made a strong impact. Senator Tina Smith recently issued a news release asking the Trump Administration to ensure cooperatives don’t lose their tax-exempt status if they receive FEMA or broadband grants.

“As I have traveled throughout Minnesota, I’ve heard from … electric cooperatives … about how recent changes to the tax code could unintentionally cause cooperatives to lose their tax-exempt status if they receive certain government grants…,” wrote Sen. Smith. “I am asking you to use your administrative authority… to address this issue.”
Good work, team. Lobbying works!

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