Electric cooperatives do more than provide electric service; they serve your communities, too. It is fundamentally important for electric cooperatives to improve the overall economic health, vitality and quality of life in the communities they serve.
Cooperatives are community focused and work to improve the sustainability and well-being of their local and surrounding communities. Co-ops are invested in the communities they serve, giving their time, money and expertise to build local economies. While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for community development through policies accepted by their members. That’s why they host a yearly Community Day, when they work collectively to make a positive impact on our state.
Each year on the second Friday of October, each of Indiana’s electric cooperatives determines a need within its service area. Then, employees work as a team to complete the project. The day provides an opportunity to focus on the good work electric cooperatives do in their communities and it also gives your cooperative a chance to give back to the community it serves.
Working side-by-side, Indiana’s electric cooperatives demonstrate one of the core cooperative principles: concern for community. More than 40 unique service projects are typically completed in a single day every year.
Co-ops also do things for the community like spearhead “fill the backpack” programs to help underprivileged kids going back to school and sponsor scholarships for high school seniors. The statewide Youth Power and Hope Awards annually honor community-minded middle school students in the state.
Electric cooperatives support their communities because it is fundamentally important to them.
Why Tax Incentives are Key for Energy Innovation
Electric cooperatives work hard to meet today’s energy needs and future development plans. But they are often handcuffed by a restrictive tax code and high costs associated with implementing new technologies. Developing clean energy resources and innovative technologies carries significant capital expense. As not-for-profit businesses, electric co-ops pay state and local taxes, but most are tax exempt for federal income tax purposes. Because of this, electric cooperatives do not have access to the same federal tax incentives as for-profit businesses and are disadvantaged when implementing innovative technologies.
All costs incurred by the co-op are passed on to you, its consumer-members. This includes constructing and maintaining electric generating facilities, and transmission and distribution systems. Electric co-ops are making significant regionally specific investments that are transforming their energy supply. But co-ops’ investments in emerging energy technologies could be enhanced if they received comparable incentives and could access direct pay options in lieu of tax credits.
Currently, to access these funds, cooperatives are forced to enter into complex and expensive contractual agreements with third-party developers, who, in return, claim these credits. As not-for-profits we receive only a small portion of the tax incentives, as a majority goes to the investors or developers. Our goal is to push Congress to allow for rural electric cooperatives to benefit from the savings of direct payment of energy tax credits. The more capital spent in our local communities ensures more local jobs, local control of projects and further cooperative investment in the communities we serve. Federal policies should incentivize innovative and sustainable energy technologies, so co-ops’ consumer-members aren’t left holding the bag.
What Happens to a House Divided?
The Indiana House of Representatives and Indiana State Senate are controlled by whichever political party has a simple majority of members. Since 2011, both the House and Senate have been controlled by Republicans, although control has flipped between parties throughout the General Assembly’s history.
But there is one unique instance where control of a chamber has been shared by both parties. In 1988, House Republicans and Democrats each won 50 seats in the chamber, creating an even split for the first time in the Legislature’s then-172-year history. Both parties came to an agreement they would split leadership, with Republican Rep. Paul Mannweiler and Democratic Rep. Michael Phillips serving as co-speakers in what the New York Times called the “Speaker du jour” plan.
The House would again be split 50/50 in 1996. But, but due to a law passed the previous year, Democratic Rep. John Gregg would assume control of the chamber as sole speaker. A plaque hanging in the House commemorates both sessions of “divided” governance, although only one instance can be noted as a true split.