FDA Devastates Lifesaving Vapor Industry

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Posted by Tim Andrews on Friday, September 10th, 2021, 2:59 PM PERMALINK

Yesterday, in a devastating blow to public health, President Biden's FDA bowed to radical anti-science political activists late yesterday and refused to grant PMTA authorizations to any life-saving reduced risk tobacco alternative vaping product. As a result, it is now illegal to sell any vaping product in the United States.

While the FDA has already rejected many applications hundreds of companies remain in limbo as the FDA refuses to finalize their applications, despite a September 9 deadline. It is now illegal to sell any vaping product without FDA authorization.

These outrageous now regulations were imposed even though these products are proven to be 95% safer than combustible tobacco, 3-7 times more effective than other nicotine replacement therapies, and, according to Georgetown University Medical Center, having the potential to save up to 6.6 million American lives. For this reason, they are endorsed by over 50 of the world’s leading medical organizations.  And it is now illegal to sell any of them.

While the FDA has stated it will use its discretion in enforcing the law while outstanding applications are pending, so far, it has rejected every application it has ruled upon. Moreover, in its rulings, it has demanded that individual vape manufacturers would have needed to supply a “randomized controlled trial or longitudinal cohort study,” costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, for every product, variety, or strength or e-liquid a manufacturer develops. Even the smallest of vape stores sell hundreds of different products. In order to have any chance of approval, they would have to spend over a hundred million dollars – something impossible.

As a result, it is now almost certain that thousands of independent vape shops will shut down. Millions of former smokers who rely on vaping devices will gradually return to smoking, with deadly consequences.

Smoking kills seven million Americans annually - twice as many as have been killed thus far by the Covid-29 Pandemic. For the FDA to rule that tens of millions of smokers will be unable to quit their deadly habit through a scientifically proven reduced risk alternative will leave a long-term death toll far higher than Covid ever would.

Photo Credit: Vaping 360

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New Mexico Residents Will Get Stuck with Even Higher Utility Bills Due to Biden Corporate Tax Rate Hike

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Posted by John Kartch and Michael Mirsky on Friday, September 10th, 2021, 1:23 PM PERMALINK

If Heinrich and Ray Luján enact a corporate income tax rate increase, they will have to explain why they just increased your utility bills

If President Biden and Sens. Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Luján hike the corporate income tax rate, New Mexico households and businesses will get stuck with higher utility bills as the country tries to recover from the pandemic.

Democrats plan to impose a corporate income tax rate increase to 26.5%, even higher than communist China's 25% and higher than the developed world average of 23.5%. This does not even include state corporate income taxes, which average 4 - 5% nationwide.

Customers bear the cost of corporate income taxes imposed on utility companies. Corporate income tax cuts drive utility rates down, corporate income tax hikes drive utility rates up. 

Electric, gas, and water companies must get their billing rates approved by the respective state utility commissions. When the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act cut the corporate income tax rate from 35% to 21%, utility companies worked with state officials to pass along the tax savings to customers, including at least five New Mexico utilities.

The savings typically come in the form of a rate reduction, a bill credit, or a reduction to an existing or planned rate increase. 

According to a report published in the trade publication Utility Dive, customers nationwide were to receive a $90 billion utility benefit from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Estimates derived from 2017 annual SEC 10-K filings indicate that the 14-percentage-point reduction in the corporate tax rate enacted under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) resulted in investor-owned utilities establishing significant regulatory liability balances, totaling approximately $90 billion to be refunded back to customers.

Americans for Tax Reform has compiled a 90-second nationwide utility savings video from local news reports which may be viewed here.

If Democrats now impose a corporate income tax rate increase, they will have to reckon with local news coverage noting utility bills are going up. A vote for a corporate income tax hike is a vote for higher utility bills as households try to recover from the pandemic.

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Impact: Working with the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission, Public Service Company of New Mexico, El Paso Electric, Southwest Public Service Company, New Mexico Gas Company and Zia Natural Gas Company passed along tax savings to their customers.

Public Service Company of New Mexico: As noted in this February 27, 2018 Albuquerque Journal article excerpt:

The company will gain about $48 million from the lowering of the corporate income tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. It will pass those gains onto consumers starting this year as part of Public Service Co. of New Mexico’s latest rate case that concluded in December, allowing PNM to lower its newest rate hike to just 1.4 percent.

El Paso Electric: As noted in this April 25, 2018 El Paso Electric news release:

The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (NMPRC) today approved El Paso Electric’s (EPE) filing to begin issuing a credit in bills to reflect the reduction of the federal tax rate for New Mexico customers. The federal tax credit will be reflected on customer bills beginning May 1, 2018. 

EPE estimates the credit for the average residential New Mexico customer will range from $1.67 per month in the winter to $2.68 per month in the summer. The credit will appear as a line item adjustment on monthly bills.

EPE estimates that customers will see an annual reduction of approximately $4.9 million in base rates or a credit for all customers at 3.87 percent.

Southwest Public Service Company: As noted in this February 15, 2019 S&P Global excerpt:

Southwestern Public Service Co. reached a settlement agreement with the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission, under which the utility would see an annual revenue increase of $12.5 million.

The settlement will revise the commission's September 2018 order, which granted the company a revenue increase of approximately $8 million, based on a return on equity of 9.1% and a 51% equity ratio.

The original order also directed the Xcel Energy Inc. subsidiary to refund customers $10.2 million related to adjustments associated with the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2018. Southwestern Public Service, or SPS, appealed the order to the New Mexico Supreme Court.

SPS in October 2017 originally requested a $43 million increase in base rates, an ROE of 10.25% and an equity ratio of 53.97%. The utility later filed a request to reduce revenue requirements by $11 million to reflect the federal tax overhaul.

New Mexico Gas Company: As noted in this New Mexico Gas Company 2018 rate case overview:

The Company is requesting an $8 million increase in annual base revenues, which correlates to approximately a 1.4% increase in an average residential customer bill.

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This rate request applies the benefits of recently enacted federal tax reform to our customers and is $9.6million lower as a result of passing through the tax reform benefits. The request would have been $17.6 million before application of the tax reform benefits

Zia Natural Gas Company: As noted in this March 20, 2018 New Mexico Public Regulation Commission document

On January 26, 2018, ZIA tiled NMPRC Case No. 18-00018-UT, an Application for Revision of its Rates, Rules, and forms under Advice Notice No. 57 ("Application"); supporting schedules, direct testimonies and exhibits; and the Certificate of Service. In summary, ZIA is requesting a general rate increase of $2,597,203. As part of its Application, the Company incorporated the change in federal tax rate as a result of the passage of TCJA. The tax rate change impacted both the income tax expense and ADIT line items used to calculate the proposed customer rates.

Conversely, if Biden and Democrats raise the corporate tax rate, they will add to the burden faced by working families. And any small businesses operate on tight margins and can't afford higher heating, cooling, gas, and refrigeration costs.

President Biden should withdraw his tax increases.


Oregon Residents Will Get Stuck with Even Higher Utility Bills Due to Biden Corporate Tax Rate Hike

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Posted by John Kartch and Michael Mirsky on Friday, September 10th, 2021, 1:12 PM PERMALINK

If Wyden and Merkley enact a corporate income tax rate increase, they will have to explain why they just increased your utility bills

If President Biden and Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley hike the corporate income tax rate, Oregon households and businesses will get stuck with higher utility bills as the country tries to recover from the pandemic.

Democrats plan to impose a corporate income tax rate increase to 26.5%, even higher than communist China's 25% and higher than the developed world average of 23.5%. This does not even include state corporate income taxes, which average 4 - 5% nationwide.

Customers bear the cost of corporate income taxes imposed on utility companies. Corporate income tax cuts drive utility rates down, corporate income tax hikes drive utility rates up. 

Electric, gas, and water companies must get their billing rates approved by the respective state utility commissions. When the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act cut the corporate income tax rate from 35% to 21%, utility companies worked with state officials to pass along the tax savings to customers, including at least six Oregon utilities.

The savings typically come in the form of a rate reduction, a bill credit, or a reduction to an existing or planned rate increase. 

According to a report published in the trade publication Utility Dive, customers nationwide were to receive a $90 billion utility benefit from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Estimates derived from 2017 annual SEC 10-K filings indicate that the 14-percentage-point reduction in the corporate tax rate enacted under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) resulted in investor-owned utilities establishing significant regulatory liability balances, totaling approximately $90 billion to be refunded back to customers.

Americans for Tax Reform has compiled a 90-second nationwide utility savings video from local news reports which may be viewed here.

If Democrats now impose a corporate income tax rate increase, they will have to reckon with local news coverage noting utility bills are going up. A vote for a corporate income tax hike is a vote for higher utility bills as households try to recover from the pandemic.

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Impact: Working with the Public Utility Commission of Oregon, Avista Utilities, Pacific Power, Idaho Power, Cascade Natural Gas Corporation, Avion Water Company, Inc. and Northwest Natural passed along tax savings to their customers.

Avista Utilities: As noted in this February 11, 2019 Public Utility Commission of Oregon document

As explained in more detail below, the Company is requesting a rate decrease of $3,708,000 or 4.2%, effective March 1, 2019. 

The primary purpose of this filing is to pass back the 2018 deferred portion of the benefits attributable to the revisions of the federal income tax code caused by the enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act signed into law on December 22, 2017. Per discussions with Commission Staff, the Company is requesting less than statutory notice to begin returning the deferred tax benefits of $3.708 million to customers over a twelve month period effective March 1, 2019 to February 29, 2020.

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A residential customer using an average of 47 therms a month could expect their bill to decrease by $2.18 or 4.3%, for a revised monthly bill of $49.02 effective March 1, 2019.

Pacific Power: As noted in this January 29, 2019 Gorge County Media excerpt:

Following through on a pledge made when the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act became law in late 2017, Pacific Power’s 550,000 customers in Oregon will see a decrease in their bills starting Feb. 1, 2019.

Under the tax cut-related reduction, as approved by the Oregon Public Utility Commission, residential customers in Oregon will see a bill decrease of approximately 3.8 percent. A typical Oregon residential customer using 900 kilowatt hours of electricity per month will see their bill drop from about $98.52 to about $94.40 per month after Feb. 1. Commercial and industrial customers in the state will see reductions ranging from 3 percent to 4 percent depending on the customer classification.

Northwest Natural: As noted in this October 30, 2018 Portland Business Journal excerpt:

A NW Natural spokeswoman said rates also reflect savings from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. It's standard regulatory practice in Oregon for rates to incorporate shifts in the tax burden companies face, up or down

Idaho Power: As noted in this December 29, 2020 Public Utility Commission of Oregon document:

On May 30, 2018, the Commission issued Order No. 18-199 approving a Term Sheet agreed to by Idaho Power, Staff, and the Oregon Citizens' Utility Board, collectively "Parties", that quantified the cost-of-service benefits of the 2017 Tax Act and the 2017 Tax Act impacts associated with the North Valmy power plant levelized revenue requirement. The Parties agreed that the annual Oregon-jurisdictional tax benefits of $1,483,736 are a reasonable quantification of all tax benefits resulting from the 2017 Tax Act for 2018 and 2019. Further, the Parties agreed that the annualized tax benefits will remain in customer rates through May 31, 2020, to provide customers with a full 24-month benefit period associated with 2018 and 2019 tax benefits. In order to facilitate this ratemaking treatment, the Company agreed to request reauthorization from the Commission of the Oregon jurisdictional tax reform benefits authorized in UM 1928. 

On December 23, 2019, Idaho Power filed with the Commission a request to update the quantification of Tax Reform benefits to be included in customer rates beginning June 1, 2020. On May 5, 2020, the Commission issued Order No. 20-148, approving Idaho Power's quantification of $1,519,887 in annualized Oregon jurisdictional benefits associated with Tax Reform and adjusted customer rates to reflect amortization of the Tax Reform benefits effective June 1, 2020. This amount will remain in customer rates until Idaho Power's next general rate case or other proceeding where the then current tax expenses and other tax related revenue requirement components are reflected in rates. 

Cascade Natural Gas Corporation: As noted in this September 12, 2019 Public Utility Commission of Oregon document

The parties agreed the Company would return a total of $1.4 million to rate-payers over a 12 month period beginning November 1, 2019. This amount is inclusive of all remaining interim Tax Act benefits and is comprised of $1.2 million dollars for the 2018 deferral period and $200 thousand dollars for the January - March 2019 deferral period. 

Avion Water Company, Inc.: As noted in this March 1, 2021 Public Utility Commission of Oregon document

In 2017, the 115th United States Congress passed H.R.1 – Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R.1or Act). The Act was signed into law on December 22, 2017 by President Donald Trump, with most provisions going into effect on January 1, 2018. The Act contains provisions that impact regulated utilities’ federal tax obligations, including a reduction in the corporate income tax rate and the treatment of Contributions in Aid of Construction (CIAC) for water utilities. On March 1, 2018, Staff filed its initial Application for an order authorizing deferred accounting to track the impact, for later ratemaking treatment, of the Tax Act for the twelve month period beginning March 1, 2018. On February 28, 2019, Staff submitted an application for reauthorization to defer these amounts, and again on March 2, 2020, Staff submitted an application for reauthorization of the deferral. These applications were approved by the Public Utility Commission of Oregon (Commission) on November 19, 2020 in Order No. 20-443. The ratemaking treatment for these deferrals is addressed in Avion’s most recent general rate case, Docket UW 181, Order No. 20-488.

This filing is Staff’s application for reauthorization to continue deferring amounts related to the tax benefits associated with the TCJA. While most of the issues associated with TCJA benefits were addressed in Order Nos. 20-443 and 20-488, there is a narrower subset of tax benefits associated with CIAC that require a continued deferral, as described below, to ensure future ratemaking treatment for tax benefits and obligations not currently reflected in rates.

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Staff requests to defer, for later ratemaking treatment, certain CIAC-related tax benefits associated with the Act. The Act resulted in the taxability of CIAC for water utilities, which was not present prior to the Act. The CIAC-related tax obligation will be due to the taxing bodies for the year in which the CIAC is assumed, and will be paid along with other taxes paid for the year in which the CIAC is received. Also beginning in that year, and then for each year over the tax life of the asset, water utilities will claim the tax depreciation of the CIAC assets, which functions as a deduction to the utility’s taxable income (CIAC Tax Benefits). The benefits at issue for this Application are the CIAC Tax Benefits.

Conversely, if Biden and Democrats raise the corporate tax rate, they will add to the burden faced by working families. And any small businesses operate on tight margins and can't afford higher heating, cooling, gas, and refrigeration costs.

President Biden should withdraw his tax increases.


Rhode Island Residents Will Get Stuck with Even Higher Utility Bills Due to Biden Corporate Tax Rate Hike

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Posted by John Kartch and Michael Mirsky on Friday, September 10th, 2021, 12:55 PM PERMALINK

If Reed and Whitehouse enact a corporate income tax rate increase, they will have to explain why they just increased your utility bills

If President Biden and Sens. Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse hike the corporate income tax rate, Rhode Island households and businesses will get stuck with higher utility bills as the country tries to recover from the pandemic.

Democrats plan to impose a corporate income tax rate increase to 26.5%, even higher than communist China's 25% and higher than the developed world average of 23.5%. This does not even include state corporate income taxes, which average 4 - 5% nationwide.

Customers bear the cost of corporate income taxes imposed on utility companies. Corporate income tax cuts drive utility rates down, corporate income tax hikes drive utility rates up. 

Electric, gas, and water companies must get their billing rates approved by the respective state utility commissions. When the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act cut the corporate income tax rate from 35% to 21%, utility companies worked with state officials to pass along the tax savings to customers, including at least three Rhode Island utilities.

The savings typically come in the form of a rate reduction, a bill credit, or a reduction to an existing or planned rate increase. 

According to a report published in the trade publication Utility Dive, customers nationwide were to receive a $90 billion utility benefit from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Estimates derived from 2017 annual SEC 10-K filings indicate that the 14-percentage-point reduction in the corporate tax rate enacted under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) resulted in investor-owned utilities establishing significant regulatory liability balances, totaling approximately $90 billion to be refunded back to customers.

Americans for Tax Reform has compiled a 90-second nationwide utility savings video from local news reports which may be viewed here.

If Democrats now impose a corporate income tax rate increase, they will have to reckon with local news coverage noting utility bills are going up. A vote for a corporate income tax hike is a vote for higher utility bills as households try to recover from the pandemic.

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Impact: Working with the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission, National Grid Rhode Island, Suez Water and Interstate Navigation Company passed along tax savings to their customers.

National Grid Rhode Island: As noted in this January 11, 2018 National Grid press release:

National Grid Rhode Island announced today that it is reducing its electric and gas base distribution rate proposal with the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission (RIPUC) by more than $25 million. Last November, National Grid had put forth its first proposal since 2012 asking the RIPUC to adjust its base distribution rates for both gas and electric customers. Since that time, National Grid has been assessing how the newly passed federal tax reform legislation that was signed into law in late December could benefit our customers.

“Today’s announcement is a key indicator of how this new tax law can provide real benefits to National Grid’s customers,” said Tim Horan, president and COO of National Grid in Rhode Island.  “We are committed to ensuring that the tax savings of the legislation are fully realized and are used to help our customers in their energy bills.”

Suez Water: As noted in this June 8, 2018 Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission document:

The Company's Exhibit 4 (Cagle), Schedule 5C contains detail that shows that the Company originally estimated an amount of $129,640 of federal income tax savings from January 1 through September 30, 2018, its estimated effective date of new rates. The Company has reflected that as part of its proposed TCJA-related Regulatory Liability, which the Company proposes to amortize over 50 years. The Company has thus proposed to reduce rate year income tax expense by $2,593, relating to its proposed 50-year amortization of this component of its TCJA-related Regulatory Liability. 

Interstate Navigation Company: As noted in this Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission document

The parties also agreed on a method for crediting ratepayers with the tax savings from the reduction to the corporate tax rate. The Settlement Agreement provided for the creation of a new capital reserve account to be used by Interstate for capital projects including fixed asset purchases such as new vessels and/or overhauls of vessels, buildings, ramps, docks, pilings, etc. The initial funding will be $1,519,701 and the account will accrue interest at the Washington Trust Company money market rate. The following conditions will apply: (1) ratepayers will be credited when Interstate excludes the depreciation on the appropriate portion of any asset paid for from the capital reserve account funds; (2) if only a portion of the asset was paid for from the capital reserve account funds, the depreciation will be prorated; (3) any portion of the assets purchased from the capital reserve account funds will be excluded from rate base; and (4) because there will be no book depreciation on assets purchased from the capital reserve account, to account for tax depreciation, a credit will be added at the end of each fiscal year to the capital reserve account to capture the benefit for ratepayers. The credit will reflect the tax savings from the tax depreciation at the 21% corporate tax rate and will be added to the ratepayer’s portion of the earnings in excess of 12% on each year’s Return on Equity report

Conversely, if Biden and Democrats raise the corporate tax rate, they will add to the burden faced by working families. And any small businesses operate on tight margins and can't afford higher heating, cooling, gas, and refrigeration costs.

President Biden should withdraw his tax increases.


Georgia Residents Will Get Stuck with Higher Utility Bills Due to Biden Corporate Tax Rate Hike

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Posted by John Kartch and Michael Mirsky on Friday, September 10th, 2021, 12:35 PM PERMALINK

If Ossoff and Warnock enact a corporate income tax rate increase, they will have to explain why they just increased your utility bills

If President Biden and Sens. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock hike the corporate income tax rate, Gerogia households and businesses will get stuck with higher utility bills as the country tries to recover from the pandemic.

Democrats plan to impose a corporate income tax rate increase to 26.5%, even higher than communist China's 25% and higher than the developed world average of 23.5%. This does not even include state corporate income taxes, which average 4 - 5% nationwide.

Customers bear the cost of corporate income taxes imposed on utility companies. Corporate income tax cuts drive utility rates down, corporate income tax hikes drive utility rates up. 

Electric, gas, and water companies must get their billing rates approved by the respective state utility commissions. When the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act cut the corporate income tax rate from 35% to 21%, utility companies worked with state officials to pass along the tax savings to customers, including at least two Georgia utilities.

The savings typically come in the form of a rate reduction, a bill credit, or a reduction to an existing or planned rate increase. 

According to a report published in the trade publication Utility Dive, customers nationwide were to receive a $90 billion utility benefit from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Estimates derived from 2017 annual SEC 10-K filings indicate that the 14-percentage-point reduction in the corporate tax rate enacted under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) resulted in investor-owned utilities establishing significant regulatory liability balances, totaling approximately $90 billion to be refunded back to customers.

Americans for Tax Reform has compiled a 90-second nationwide utility savings video from local news reports which may be viewed here.

If Democrats now impose a corporate income tax rate increase, they will have to reckon with local news coverage noting utility bills are going up. A vote for a corporate income tax hike is a vote for higher utility bills as households try to recover from the pandemic.

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Impact: Working with Georgia Public Service Commission, Georgia Power and Atlanta Gas Light passed along tax savings to their customers. 

Georgia Power: As noted in this March 6, 2018 Georgia Power press release:

Georgia Power has completed an assessment of the impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act for the company – including approximately $1.2 billion in benefits for customers. The benefits were confirmed as part of an agreement with Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) Staff and include approximately $130 million in reduced taxes on financing costs for the Vogtle nuclear expansion; $330 million in direct credits to customers as a result of lower federal income tax rates over the next two years and approximately $700 million in future benefits to be addressed in the company's next base rate case in 2019, which also includes the benefits of last week's reduction in state of Georgia income tax rates. If approved by the Georgia PSC, the typical residential customer using an average of 1,000 kilowatt-hours per month could receive approximately $70 in refunds over the two-year period.

"We are committed to offering the highest customer value with rates below the national average, and we're pleased to be able to continue to pass the benefits of the new tax laws on to our customers," said Paul Bowers, chairman, president and CEO of Georgia Power.

Atlanta Gas Light: As noted in this May 15, 2018 Atlanta Gas Light press release

The Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) today voted to approve a stipulation reached between its staff and Atlanta Gas Light Company (Atlanta Gas Light) that provides for $82 million in customer benefits stemming from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017, including $16 million in rate credits to be passed on to Atlanta Gas Light customers beginning in July. 
 
“We are committed to providing efficient and effective energy solutions to our communities,” said Bryan Batson, president of Atlanta Gas Light. “The PSC’s order strikes the proper balance of allowing Atlanta Gas Light to continue making important safety and modernization investments in infrastructure programs while returning the net benefits of tax reform to customers.”
 
The stipulation recognizes the benefits of the federal tax reform law, including the lowering of the federal corporate income tax rate from 35 to 21 percent. It also factors in the negative impacts to utilities, such as the loss of bonus deprecation and cash flow shortfall caused by the change in tax rates. To compensate for that loss in working capital, the PSC agreed to adjust the Company’s equity ratio, which should benefit the utility and customers by helping protect credit ratings and preserve lower borrowing costs.

Conversely, if Biden and Democrats raise the corporate tax rate, they will add to the burden faced by working families. And any small businesses operate on tight margins and can't afford higher heating, cooling, gas, and refrigeration costs.

President Biden should withdraw his tax increases.


New York Residents Will Get Stuck with Even Higher Utility Bills Due to Biden Corporate Tax Rate Hike

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Posted by John Kartch and Michael Mirsky on Friday, September 10th, 2021, 11:50 AM PERMALINK

If Schumer and Gillibrand enact a corporate income tax rate increase, they will have to explain why they just increased your utility bills

If President Biden and Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand hike the corporate income tax rate, New York households and businesses will get stuck with higher utility bills as the country tries to recover from the pandemic.

Democrats plan to impose a corporate income tax rate increase to 26.5%, even higher than communist China's 25% and higher than the developed world average of 23.5%. This does not even include state corporate income taxes, which average 4 - 5% nationwide.

Customers bear the cost of corporate income taxes imposed on utility companies. Corporate income tax cuts drive utility rates down, corporate income tax hikes drive utility rates up. 

Electric, gas, and water companies must get their billing rates approved by the respective state utility commissions. When the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act cut the corporate income tax rate from 35% to 21%, utility companies worked with state officials to pass along the tax savings to customers, including at least ten New York utilities.

The savings typically come in the form of a rate reduction, a bill credit, or a reduction to an existing or planned rate increase. 

According to a report published in the trade publication Utility Dive, customers nationwide were to receive a $90 billion utility benefit from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Estimates derived from 2017 annual SEC 10-K filings indicate that the 14-percentage-point reduction in the corporate tax rate enacted under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) resulted in investor-owned utilities establishing significant regulatory liability balances, totaling approximately $90 billion to be refunded back to customers.

Americans for Tax Reform has compiled a 90-second nationwide utility savings video from local news reports which may be viewed here.

If Democrats now impose a corporate income tax rate increase, they will have to reckon with local news coverage noting utility bills are going up. A vote for a corporate income tax hike is a vote for higher utility bills as households try to recover from the pandemic.

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Impact: Working with the New York Public Service Commission, Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. (electric and gas), Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. (steam), New York State Electric and Gas Corporation, Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation, Natural Fuel Gas Distribution Company,  Corning Natural Gas Corporation, Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation, New York American Water, Suez Water New York and National Grid passed along tax savings to their customers.

Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. (electric and gas): As noted in this January 16, 2020 New York Public Service Commission document:

In 2017, Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (2017 Tax Act), which, among other things, lowered the highest corporate federal income tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent and eliminated bonus depreciation. Consequently, the Commission issued an order directing New York utilities to preserve for the benefit of ratepayers the net savings resulting from the 2017 Tax Act through deferral accounting until all net benefits are reflected in rates.

In its initial tariff filings in January 2019, Con Edison proposed revenue requirements that reflected the reduction in the tax rate and the termination of bonus depreciation. The Company proposed to amortize deferred net benefits realized from the tax reforms in 2018 over a three-year period starting January 2020 for electric and a two-year period for gas as there are two years remaining for the three-year amortization of the benefit that started in January 2019. Con Edison also proposed to refund the protected asset related excess deferred federal income taxes (EDFIT) benefits to customers over the average remaining life of the underlying plant assets, and the unprotected EDFIT balances over a five year period.

Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. (steam): As noted in this August 9, 2019 New York Public Service Commission document

Effective as of October 1, 2018, Con Ed steam rates will include a tax sur-credit as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 impact.  Joining over 100 documented utilities across the country thus far issuing credits for electric, gas, steam, and/or water service, tax sur-credits for Con Ed steam rates range from about $1.02 to $2.25 per Mlb. 

New York State Electric and Gas Corporation: As noted in this May 14, 2018 AVANGRID document:

On December 22, 2017, the President signed into law the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act modified the federal corporate income tax rate from a maximum 35 percent to a flat 21 percent rate, effective January 1, 2018. This tax rate reduction will result in lower income tax expense going forward on the books of certain rate-regulated companies, including NYSEG and RG&E. Accordingly, on March 15, 2018, the Commission ordered that, within 60 days of the Order, a number of companies, including NYSEG and RG&E, either (1) submit proposed revisions to their stated transmission rates to reflect the change in the federal corporate income tax rate and describe the methodology used for making those revisions, or (2) show cause why they should not be required to do so.

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NYSEG’s current stated wholesale TSC was set by the Commission in Docket ER97-2353 (Opinion 447), using data from a 1997 test year, and later amended in a settlement approved by the Commission in Docket No. EL04-56. In order to reflect the impact of the change in the federal income tax rate, NYSEG changed the federal income tax rate included in the previously approved rate determination from 35% to 21%, as described and supported by the Affidavit of Dr. Dumais. See Attachment A. This results in a reduction of approximately $4.0 million in the NYSEG annual transmission revenue requirement which, in turn, reduces NYSEG’s transmission by $0.2696 per MWh. 

Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation: As noted in this May 14, 2018 AVANGRID document:

On December 22, 2017, the President signed into law the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act modified the federal corporate income tax rate from a maximum 35 percent to a flat 21 percent rate, effective January 1, 2018. This tax rate reduction will result in lower income tax expense going forward on the books of certain rate-regulated companies, including NYSEG and RG&E. Accordingly, on March 15, 2018, the Commission ordered that, within 60 days of the Order, a number of companies, including NYSEG and RG&E, either (1) submit proposed revisions to their stated transmission rates to reflect the change in the federal corporate income tax rate and describe the methodology used for making those revisions, or (2) show cause why they should not be required to do so.

---

RG&E’s current stated wholesale TSC was set by the Commission in Docket OA96-141, using data from a 1995 test year. The rates approved by the Commission in that proceeding remain in effect today. In order to reflect the impact of the change in the federal income tax rate, RG&E changed the federal income tax rate included in the previously approved rate determination from 35% to 21%, as described and supported by the Affidavit of Dr. Dumais. See Attachment A. This results in a reduction of approximately $1.6 million from RG&E’s currently effective annual transmission revenue requirement, which, in turn, reduces RG&E’s transmission rate by $0.2229 per MWh.

National Fuel Gas Distribution Company: As noted in this June 15, 2018 New York Public Service Commission document

On June 4, 2018, the Company filed a petition with the Commission regarding the Company’s proposed disposition of net federal income tax savings resulting from the Tax Act and requesting authorization to, among other things, implement a customer refund program (“Customer Refund Program”) to return the net effect of the recent federal income tax rate reduction under the Tax Act, estimated at approximately $7.8 million for 2018 and $10.8 million for 2019, to the Company’s customers as soon as possible.

Corning Natural Gas Corporation: As noted in this September 18, 2018 Star-Gazette excerpt

On August 9, 2018 the New York State Public Service Commission (NYSPSC) Issued an order In Case# 17-M-0815 which Instructed Corning Natural Gas Corporation to begin to pass back the net benefits as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. The result will be an average decrease on customer's bills of 2.24% effective 10-1-18 through 9-30-19. 

Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation: As noted in this February 21, 2019 Federal Energy Regulatory Commission document

As described above, Central Hudson has revised its stated transmission rates to reflect the new 21 percent federal corporate income tax rate, which results in rate reductions for customers. Absent a change to Central Hudson’s stated transmission rates, customers would not receive the benefits of the reduced federal corporate income tax rate. We therefore accept Central Hudson’s proposed revisions to its stated transmission rates, effective March 21, 2018, as requested in Central Hudson’s amended filing. Because Central Hudson proposed revisions to its stated rates to reflect the reduced tax rate, we terminate the section 206 proceeding in Docket No. EL18-77-000. Central Hudson is directed to make refunds, within 30 days of the date of this order, of all amounts collected from ratepayers for periods after the requested effective date in excess of the revised rates. Within 30 days of issuing refunds, Central Hudson must submit a refund report showing the amounts refunded to each ratepayer. The refund report must show the principal amounts and interest refunded to each ratepayer and the interest calculations based on 18 C.F.R. § 35.19a of the Commission’s regulations. 

New York American Water: As noted in this December 13, 2018 New York Public Service Commission document:

The New York State Public Service Commission (Commission) today approved $7.2 million in credits and other financial benefits for New York American Water Company, Inc. customers, a decision consistent with the agreement announced by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on August 18, 2018 that lowered bills and provided other benefits for the company's 120,000 customers on Long Island. 

“Today’s decisions provide accelerated rate relief to all New York American Water customers and tracks the announcement by Governor Cuomo in August,” said Commission Chair John B. Rhodes. “This is a fair and equitable decision to ensure just and reasonable rates for the company’s customers on Long island.” 

The Commission’s action included approving the allocation and disposition of property tax refunds to customers and accelerating the disposition of customer credits relating to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), net of the revenue adjustment  clause and property tax reconciliation surcharge balance, totaling $6.2 million. In addition, the company will contribute $1.01 million to fund a conservation study and rebate program for the benefit of customers.

Suez Water New York: As noted in this October 2, 2018 Gannett News Service excerpt:

Suez customers in New York will see their monthly water bills decrease over the coming year thanks to a federal tax cut passed in December, company officials announced Monday.

Savings for the average residential customer who uses 4,500 gallons of water every month would range between $16 and $35 per year, the company said.

National Grid: As noted in this March 15, 2018 WRGB Albany excerpt:

The initial proposal called for an 11% increase in prices.

Now, under the new approved plan, National Grid says a typical residential customer will see their electricity bill increase by about 3% in the first year, or close to $2 a month.

A natural gas customer will see a monthly bill increase of less than 2% totaling about $1.

The company says the cuts in the proposed rate hike are due in part to the Trump Administration’s corporate tax cuts.

Conversely, if Biden and Democrats raise the corporate tax rate, they will add to the burden faced by working families. And any small businesses operate on tight margins and can't afford higher heating, cooling, gas, and refrigeration costs.

President Biden should withdraw his tax increases.


Poll: 51% Say $3.5 Trillion Tax-and-Spend Plan Will Make Inflation Worse 

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Posted by Isabelle Morales on Friday, September 10th, 2021, 11:35 AM PERMALINK

51 percent of voters believe that Democrats’ $3.5 trillion tax-and-spend plan will make inflation worse, according to a new poll conducted by HarrisX.

The poll was conducted by HarrisX between Sept. 3 - 6 among 1,916 representative registered voters.

Respondents were asked the following:

President Biden and Congressional Democrats are pushing legislation that increases spending and taxes by $3.5 trillion over the next decade. Do you think this will make inflation worse, better, or have no effect? 

  • Better 
  • Worse 
  • No effect 


51 percent of respondents answered, “Worse,” while just 21 percent answered, “Better.” About 27 percent answered, “No effect.” 

The following demographic groups said the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package would make inflation worse:  

  • 55 percent of women 
  • 61 percent of voters making less than $75k 
  • 45 percent of independents 
  • 60 percent of suburban voters 
  • 68 percent of rural voters 
  • 81 percent of Republicans 
  • 72 percent of those 65 years old or older 


Inflation has already been surging. Consumer prices increased by 5.4 percent on an annualized basis in July, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In January 2021, before Joe Biden took over the presidency, annual inflation was at a stable 1.4 percent

These findings are instructive as Democratic lawmakers push for trillions of dollars in new spending and taxes.  

Click here to view the breakdown of the poll. The poll was commissioned by Americans for Tax Reform. 

Photo Credit: atramos

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Indiana Residents Will Get Stuck with Higher Utility Bills Due to Biden Corporate Tax Rate Hike

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Posted by John Kartch and Michael Mirsky on Friday, September 10th, 2021, 10:30 AM PERMALINK

If Biden and the Democrats enact a corporate income tax rate increase, they will have to explain why they just increased your utility bills

If President Biden and congressional Democrats hike the corporate income tax rate, Indiana households and businesses will get stuck with higher utility bills as the country tries to recover from the pandemic.

Democrats plan to impose a corporate income tax rate increase to 26.5%, even higher than communist China's 25% and higher than the developed world average of 23.5%. This does not even include state corporate income taxes, which average 4 - 5% nationwide.

Customers bear the cost of corporate income taxes imposed on utility companies. Corporate income tax cuts drive utility rates down, corporate income tax hikes drive utility rates up. 

Electric, gas, and water companies must get their billing rates approved by the respective state utility commissions. When the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act cut the corporate income tax rate from 35% to 21%, utility companies worked with state officials to pass along the tax savings to customers, including at least seventeen Indiana utilities.

The savings typically come in the form of a rate reduction, a bill credit, or a reduction to an existing or planned rate increase. 

According to a report published in the trade publication Utility Dive, customers nationwide were to receive a $90 billion utility benefit from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Estimates derived from 2017 annual SEC 10-K filings indicate that the 14-percentage-point reduction in the corporate tax rate enacted under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) resulted in investor-owned utilities establishing significant regulatory liability balances, totaling approximately $90 billion to be refunded back to customers.

Americans for Tax Reform has compiled a 90-second nationwide utility savings video from local news reports which may be viewed here.

If Democrats now impose a corporate income tax rate increase, they will have to reckon with local news coverage noting utility bills are going up. A vote for a corporate income tax hike is a vote for higher utility bills as households try to recover from the pandemic.

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Impact: Working with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, Duke Energy Indiana, Indiana-Michigan Power, Northern Indiana Public Service Company, Vectren Energy Delivery of Indiana, Inc., Midwest Natural Gas Corporation, Fountaintown Gas Company, Inc., South Eastern Indiana Natural Gas Company, Inc., American Suburban Utilities, Inc., Indiana American Water, Ohio Valley Gas Corporation, Indianapolis Power & Light, Aqua Indiana, Inc., Boonville Natural Gas Corporation, Community Natural Gas Company, L.M.H. Utilities Corporation, Indiana Natural Gas Corporation, and Indiana Utilities Corporation passed along tax savings to their customers. 

Aqua Indiana, Inc.: As noted in this May 16, 2018 Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission order

The tax rate embedded in the utility's recurring rates is 35%. The utility requests to reduce its recurring rates to reflect the new 21 % tax rate per the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. 

Duke Energy Indiana: As noted in this  June 28, 2018 Inside Indiana article excerpt:

Plainfield-based Duke Energy Indiana has reached a settlement with the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor and other parties regarding the disbursement of savings to customers from the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The utility says customers will receive approximately $142 million in annual savings.

The OUCC says when the legislation went into effect in January, the federal tax rate for most investor-owned utilities fell from 35 percent to 21 percent. As a result, the average residential customer will see their monthly bill reduced by about 5 percent, or $7.33, in 2018.

"The federal tax act is an opportunity for us to lower customer bills and help offset future rising costs," said Duke Energy Indiana President Melody Birmingham-Byrd. "We’ve reached an agreement to pass along tax savings embedded in our electric rates over the next two years. It’s a constructive agreement that reduces rates while still preserving our credit quality, which is important for keeping customer bills low."

Indiana-Michigan Power: As noted in this May 31, 2018 Associated Press article excerpt:

The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission approved an order Wednesday allowing the Fort Wayne-based company to boost its Indiana customers’ rates about 7.3 percent, allowing it to raise $96.8 million in new revenue.

The Journal Gazette reports Indiana Michigan Power had initially sought a 20 percent rate increase to generate $263 million in new revenue.

That was reduced under a settlement between the company, Indiana’s state consumer advocate and several cities, companies and advocacy groups.

Some of the decrease was also attributed to the recent federal tax cuts.

Northern Indiana Public Service Company: As noted in this January 29, 2018 Daily Herald article excerpt:

Merrillville-based Northern Indiana Public Service Co. announced Monday it was changing its request that was submitted in September to the state utility commission. The change reduces the rate increase NIPSCO is seeking from nearly 23 percent to about 19 percent.

The company says that would mean about $26 million less a year in increased billing charges to its some 820,000 gas customers.

Vectren Energy Delivery of Indiana, Inc.: As noted in this June 1, 2018 Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission filing

Vectren North shall return the Tax Regulatory Liability to its retail customers through a separate component (the “Tax Refund Credit”) to be established in Cause No. 44430 TDSIC 9 to be initiated by October 2, 2018. The Tax Refund Credit shall be designed to return the Tax Regulatory Liability to customers over a six month period and be incorporated into Vectren North’s Compliance and System Improvement Adjustment (“CSIA”) mechanism. As the amounts recorded for the Tax Regulatory Liability are captured by Rate Schedule by taking the change in base rates multiplied by the actual throughput for this period, Vectren North will refund the Tax Regulatory Liability by Rate Schedule. Vectren North shall provide the other Settling Parties workpapers demonstrating the calculation of the Tax Refund Credit within the CSIA by August 2, 2018. Any over- or under-recovery associated with the Tax Refund Credit will be captured within subsequent  CSIA filings as a CSIA variance

Midwest Natural Gas Corporation: As noted in this June 19, 2018 Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission filing

Midwest is proposing a volumetric refund to customers that is class specific. We believe the refund should occur in the same four calendar months, of 2019, it was created in 2018. This gives us the best opportunity to refund the over collection back to the customers that created it, generally in proportion to their contribution. Spreading it over all 12 calendar months tends to favor industrial customers with a significant summer base load over the weather-sensitive customers that helped create the refund. The refund will be divided over the GCA estimated sales volumes, which are generally based upon the average of several years. At the end of April 2019, we would reconcile the refund dollars, with any differences being included in GCA variances at that time. 

Fountaintown Gas Company, Inc.: As noted in this November 2, 2018 Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission filing: 

Fountaintown has proposed to refund the over collection of tax funds from January 1, 2018 through April 30, 2018 by refunding $81,293. Fountaintown has proposed that such refund occur through a tracking mechanism that will begin in January 2019 and run through April 30, 2019 in order to refund the over collection as closely as possible to the customers by class who paid such over collection. The OUCC agrees to both the amount and the proposed tracker mechanism. Based on the evidence of record, we find that the over collection between January 1, 2018 and April 30, 2018 in the amount of $$81,293 should be refunded to the customer classes as proposed by Fountaintown. This refund of over collected tax dollars will begin in January 2019 and run through April 30, 2019 in order to more closely match the refund to the customer who provided such funds. 

South Eastern Indiana Natural Gas Company, Inc.: As noted in this May 17, 2019 Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission memorandum:

South Eastern requests to revise portions of its IURC No. G-11 tariff to reflect the amortization of $176,222 in Excess Accumulated Deferred Income Taxes over 19.65 years as a result of the Commission’s investigation into the impacts of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 and the subsequent Order in Cause No. 45032 S13. The rate adjustment will result in $8,968 being amortized annually and will lead to a $12,324 annual reduction to South Eastern’s revenue requirement after being adjusted for taxes and fees.

American Suburban Utilities, Inc.: As noted in this December 10, 2018 Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission filing

The rate reduction took effect for all bills that were rendered on July 1, 2018. Accordingly, there are five months for which service was billed after the tax cut at the prior rates, because ASU bills in arrears. He provided a total estimated deferred liability of $79,042.72. ASU proposed to divide this amount by 3 and for each of the first three months after the Phase 3 tariff in Cause No. 44676 is effective, to provide a bill credit equaling one-third of the deferred liability. In this way, the Phase 3 tariff will step in over four months rather than one. He testified that ASU expected to file the Phase 3 tariff before the end of 2018, but that if for some reason the tariff had not been submitted before March 31, 2019, ASU would file a tariff to reflect a one-time credit to exhaust all of the deferred liability in a single month. 

Indiana American Water: As noted in this June 26, 2020 Indiana American Water press release

Indiana American Water announced today that its water customers across the state will soon start seeing lower monthly bills. The decrease, which amounts to approximately $1.04 per month (2.77 percent) for a residential customer using 4,000 gallons per month, is the result of the resolution of certain accounting issues related to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017.

Ohio Valley Gas Corporation: As noted in this November 15, 2018 Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission filing

The Parties have agreed that OVG should pay the excess accumulated deferred amount of $4,012, 142 to its customers over 34.25 years based on the average rate assumption method ("ARAM"). The first such refund payments will be reflected on customer bills starting January 1, 2019. Consistent with ARAM, the amount of the annual payment will vary each year and be implemented through a separate adjustment to OVG's volumetric rates for utility service ("EDIT Tracker") based on customer allocations and rate design approved in OVG's most recent base 2 rate case. The baseline EDIT Tracker for each of the next 35 calendar years is shown on the attached Exhibit A titled "EDIT Annual Amounts to be Returned." These baseline trackers will be further adjusted by February 15 of each year after 2019 to true-up the amounts returned the previous year in comparison to the target amount on which the EDIT Tracker for that previous year was based. 

Indianapolis Power & Light: As noted in this October 31, 2018 Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission press release

Today, the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (Commission) issued an Order in the Indianapolis Power & Light (IPL) rate case, Cause Number 45029. The Order included the Commission’s approval of a settlement agreement filed by most of the parties involved in the case. In the Order, the Commission authorized the utility to implement rates designed to produce additional annual revenue of approximately $43.877 million. The utility’s original request was for $124.491 million. In February 2018, IPL lowered its request from the original $124.491 million to $96.731 million following the passage of the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA). As stated in the approved settlement agreement, IPL will also provide an additional credit of $14.3 million to customers over two years to reflect the impact of the TCJA on IPL’s current rates for the period before new base rates go into effect. The Commission has previously approved a $9.51 million credit in the specific tax investigation case for this utility.

Boonville Natural Gas Corporation: As noted in this April 30, 2018 Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission order

Boonville requests to revise portions of its IURC No. G-3 tariff reflecting the new tax rate applicable to Boonville as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 for all affected rates and charges in its IURC No. G-3 tariffs. 

Community Natural Gas Company: As noted in this April 30, 2018 Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission order:

Community requests to revise portions of its IURC No. G-4 tariff reflecting the new tax rate applicable to Community as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 for all affected rates and charges in its IURC No. G-4 tariffs. 

L.M.H. Utilities Corporation: As noted in this June 13, 2018 Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission order:

The tax rate embedded in the utility's recurring rates is 28.91 %. The utility requests to reduce its recurring rates to reflect the new 21 % tax rate per the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

Indiana Natural Gas Corporation: As noted in this April 30, 2018 Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission order:

Indiana Natural requests to revise portions of its IURC No. G-3 tariff reflecting the new tax rate applicable to Indiana Natural as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 for all affected rates and charges in its IURC No. G-3 tariffs. 

Indiana Utilities Corporation: As noted in this April 30, 2018 Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission order:

Indiana Utilities requests to revise portions of its IURC No. G-12 Tariff for Gas Service reflecting the new tax rate applicable to Indiana Utilities as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of2017 for all affected rates and charges in its IURC No. G-12 Tariff for Gas Service.

Conversely, if Biden and Democrats raise the corporate tax rate, they will add to the burden faced by working families. And any small businesses operate on tight margins and can't afford higher heating, cooling, gas, and refrigeration costs.

President Biden should withdraw his tax increases.


North Dakotans Will Get Stuck with Higher Utility Bills Due to Biden Corporate Tax Rate Hike

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Posted by John Kartch and Michael Mirsky on Friday, September 10th, 2021, 10:00 AM PERMALINK

If Biden and the Democrats enact a corporate income tax rate increase, they will have to explain why they just increased your utility bills

If President Biden and congressional Democrats hike the corporate income tax rate, North Dakota households and businesses will get stuck with higher utility bills as the country tries to recover from the pandemic.

Democrats plan to impose a corporate income tax rate increase to 26.5%, even higher than communist China's 25% and higher than the developed world average of 23.5%. This does not even include state corporate income taxes, which average 4 - 5% nationwide.

Customers bear the cost of corporate income taxes imposed on utility companies. Corporate income tax cuts drive utility rates down, corporate income tax hikes drive utility rates up. 

Electric, gas, and water companies must get their billing rates approved by the respective state utility commissions. When the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act cut the corporate income tax rate from 35% to 21%, utility companies worked with state officials to pass along the tax savings to customers, including at least three North Dakota utilities.

The savings typically come in the form of a rate reduction, a bill credit, or a reduction to an existing or planned rate increase. 

According to a report published in the trade publication Utility Dive, customers nationwide were to receive a $90 billion utility benefit from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Estimates derived from 2017 annual SEC 10-K filings indicate that the 14-percentage-point reduction in the corporate tax rate enacted under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) resulted in investor-owned utilities establishing significant regulatory liability balances, totaling approximately $90 billion to be refunded back to customers.

Americans for Tax Reform has compiled a 90-second nationwide utility savings video from local news reports which may be viewed here.

If Democrats now impose a corporate income tax rate increase, they will have to reckon with local news coverage noting utility bills are going up. A vote for a corporate income tax hike is a vote for higher utility bills as households try to recover from the pandemic.

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Impact: Working with the North Dakota Public Service Commission, MDU, Xcel Energy North Dakota and Otter Tail Power Company passed along tax savings to customers.

MDU: As noted in this Sept. 26, 2018 PSC statement:

In September 2017 the Commission approved a $4.6 million interim rate increase in accordance with state law. That interim rate was reduced to $2.7 million in March 2018 to reflect tax savings due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Because the agreement approved today includes a smaller increase than the interim rate, MDU natural gas customers will receive a refund for any excess revenue collected from September 2017 to present. The refund will be issued within 90 days of approval of a refund plan.

As part of the agreement, the fixed basic service charge will be $20.87 per month for residential customers. Because the rate approved today is less than the current interim rate, customers will actually see a decrease in their bills.

Otter Tail Power Company: Also as noted in the Sept. 26, 2018 PSC statement:

The PSC also today approved an approximately $4.6 million (3.09%) annual revenue increase for Otter Tail electric service. The company had originally asked for an increase of $13.1 million (8.72%). The company has not asked for a rate increase since 2008. Since then, Otter Tail Power has experienced increased operating expenses and costs driven by the company’s investments in generation, transmission, and distribution infrastructure.

In December 2017 the Commission approved a $12.8 million interim rate increase in accordance with state law. That interim rate was reduced to $8.3 million in February 2018 to reflect tax savings due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Because the agreement approved today includes a smaller increase than the interim rate, Otter Tail electric customers will receive a refund for any excess revenue collected from December 2017 to present. The refund will be issued within 90 days of implementation of the final rates.

As part of the agreement, the fixed basic service charge will be no higher than $14 a month for residential customers. Because the rate approved today is less than the current interim rate, customers will actually see a decrease in their bills.

Xcel Energy North Dakota: As noted in a Feb. 8, 2019 Fargo Forum article:

Utility companies across the country paid lower taxes after the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 passed. Since then, states have been ordering those companies to pass on the savings to customers.

There was some discussion of using the money to improve energy equipment in North Dakota, or possibly holding down future rate increases.

But on Friday, Feb. 8, Xcel announced its North Dakota customers will receive a rebate. Xcel Energy will soon distribute nearly $10 million to all North Dakota electricity customers as a result of the federal tax cut. All Xcel Energy electricity customers in the state will receive a credit on their bills. The refund for a residential electricity customer will average about $46, but will vary based on each customer’s actual use.

The North Dakota Public Service Commission approved the refunds this week and customers should receive them as one-time bill credit beginning this spring.

As an additional part of the agreement, North Dakota customers will not see any increases in their base electric rates until at least Jan. 1, 2021, which is the earliest any future rate reviews could take effect. The agreement also allows Xcel Energy the ability to provide customers with additional refunds should the company achieve higher earnings than authorized by the commission.

Conversely, if Biden and Democrats raise the corporate tax rate, they will add to the burden faced by working families. And any small businesses operate on tight margins and can't afford higher heating, cooling, gas, and refrigeration costs.

President Biden should withdraw his tax increases.


Dems Ready Carbon Tax in Violation of Biden’s $400,000 Tax Pledge

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Posted by Mike Palicz on Friday, September 10th, 2021, 10:00 AM PERMALINK

House Democrats are proposing a new energy tax as a means of financing their $3.5 trillion ($3,500,000,000,000) tax and spending spree, according to a fact sheet released by Democrats on the House Energy & Commerce Committee.

The tax will automatically ratchet up each year at a rate of 5% above inflation. This is a tax increase on autopilot without congress having to hold a vote on it each time.

The plan would impose a regressive carbon tax on methane emissions from oil and gas development, likely amounting to a tax increase of $10-$15 billion annually. This tax will be paid for by American households in the form of higher energy bills and higher costs of everyday products. A recent letter to Congress from the American Gas Association warned that the methane tax would amount to a 17% increase on an average family's natural gas bill.

This tax increase would violate President Biden’s pledge not to raise any form of tax on anyone making less than $400,000 per year. Officials within the administration have repeatedly stated taxes that raise consumer energy prices are in violation of President Biden’s $400,000 tax pledge.

A recent Reuters story on Democrats’ proposals for new energy taxes even detailed how “the White House is concerned the Democrats' proposal will raise prices on a host of consumer goods, from cars to appliances, and conflict with Biden's pledge not to tax any American earning less than $400,000 per year.”  

The Democrat proposal is modeled off of legislation introduced earlier this year by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) that would tax methane starting at a rate of $1,800/ton and then set to increase on autopilot at 5% above inflation annually.

Once this tax mechanism is in law, Democrats will gradually add other greenhouse gases and build a full-fledged carbon tax regime, with the cost burden shouldered by American households.

The same legislation also includes a market distorting import tax on crude oil and natural gas from other countries that would further increase consumer costs and likely lead to retaliatory actions from American trading partners in the form of tariffs and import taxes of their own.

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