Anza Electric Cooperative seeks member support for federal legislation

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Diane Sieker photo

ANZA – Anza Electric Cooperative Inc. is asking their members to contact federal lawmakers, seeking their support for action on an important piece of legislation that will have a direct impact on all cooperatives’ ability to receive grant funds without affecting their not-for-profit status.

Congress inadvertently caused the problem when it passed the 2017 tax bill, which included a provision that counts federal, state and local grants to co-ops as non-member income. In the past, those grants had been defined as capital. Co-ops must receive 85% of all income from consumer-members to keep their tax-exempt status under federal law. Counting grants as income makes it much harder for co-ops to meet that requirement, and it includes disaster relief funds such as those from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The issue is especially urgent because Congress is running out of time to act this year. The House had 41 days remaining in this session when it reconvened Sept. 9. The Senate had 53 days left on its legislative schedule as of that same date.

Reps. Terri Sewell, D-Alabama, and Adrian Smith, R-Nebraska, introduced the RURAL Act in the House, House Resolution 2147, and Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Tina Smith, D-Minnesota, introduced it in the Senate, Senate Bill 1032. Co-ops can check to see whether their senators or House members are co-sponsors by checking www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/2147/cosponsors and www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/1032/cosponsors.

Contact Rep. Raul Ruiz, M.D., at www.ruiz.house.gov. Congressman Raul Ruiz co-sponsored H.R. 2147 in June 2019.

Contact Sen. Dianne Feinstein at www.feinstein.senate.gov/public.

Contact Sen. Kamala D. Harris at www.harris.senate.gov.

Members are urged to contact Anza Electric directly with any questions they may have at (951)763-4333.

Form letters are available at the Cooperative office for members to sign.

Submitted by Anza Electric Cooperative.