The Nebraska Rural Electric Association has some exciting news to report. Just today the United States Congress passed a funding and tax package that includes a number of important issues that we have been working on for many years.
This final package includes many priorities for our member public power districts and electric cooperatives. Here are a few of the important issues included in the final measure:
- The Rural Act—This act protects the tax-exempt status of our state’s electric coops. If an electric co-op receives a FEMA grant to restore flood or storm damage, this should not compromise their tax-exempt status. We thank Nebraska’s Congressman Adrian Smith for being the lead cosponsor of this bill!
- The Secure Act—Treating the pensions of electric utility employees fairly and not overcharging for plan premiums will save Nebraska participants in this pension program $400,000 annually. Nationwide the SECURE Act will save electric co-op employees $40 million annually.
- Permanent, full repeal the “Cadillac Tax” on employer health plans enacted in 2010. Keeping health insurance plans affordable for the employers of our utility workers ensures they will be able to continue to offer great benefits and retain good employees.
- Appropriations for the USDA ReConnect Program. The bill includes $555 million in additional funding to finance deployment of rural broadband, an important issue to all rural Nebraskans.
- Additionally, the measure includes funding for the Rural Utility Service Electric Loan Program (RUS), The Rural Economic Development Loans and Grants Program (REDLG), the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)… and much more!
Passage of these important measures would not have been possible without the consistent voice of Nebraska’s rural electric consumers to Congress. Over the past many years, we have asked for your support of these issue and today your efforts have paid off. Thank you for your commitment to affordable and reliable electric service and for your support of Nebraska’s public power system.
This is truly awesome news!
Nebraska Rural Electric Association