South Dakota needs to slow the growth of taxes paid by the
state’s electric cooperatives, lawmakers said Friday. The South Dakota House of
Representatives overwhelmingly voted to change the way power cooperatives are
taxed, shifting from a gross receipts tax to a charge per unit of power sold.
Senate Bill 123 affects revenue received by schools outside
of the state’s education funding formula. As approved, the measure would allow
tax revenue collected from cooperatives to grow at about 4 percent per year,
down from the 10 percent annual increases allowed by current law. Backers argue
the change benefits consumers and will allow the cooperatives to compete on a
level playing field with investor-owned utilities.
The bill now moves to back to the Senate, where lawmakers
must vote on changes made in the House. The proposal was altered last week to
include a provision that cooperative lobbyists said would hold schools harmless
from the change while providing a one-year boost to schools as the state shifts
to the new taxation policy.
ASBSD opposes the legislation, and is unable to obtain the
information necessary to validate the impact of the policy.