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a publication centered on life in Mississippi.
Today is February 16, 2020

Editorial

Stand strong

By Michael Callahan

Michael Callahan
Michael Callahan,
Executive Vice President/CEO
EPAs of Mississippi

I’d like to open with a Happy New Year to everyone and also an energetic welcome to Mississippi’s newly elected statewide officials and legislators.

It’s an honor to bring you this year’s first issue of Today in Mississippi, where we can share more about Mississippi’s elected officials and national delegation who are vital to the success of our electric cooperatives, and ultimately to you, our members.

I invite you to read our interviews with Governor Tate Reeves, Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann and Speaker of the House of Representatives Philip Gunn in the following pages. They were eager to share with us their goals for the coming years as well as encouraging words of support for Mississippi’s electric cooperatives. We certainly look forward to working alongside each of them in the days ahead as we continue to ensure our co-ops are aligned for a strong,  successful future.

The Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi, through our dedicated government relations team, also closely monitors legislation on the state and national level that is deemed important to our industry and that can impact our membership.

For example, December marked the passage of landmark legislation for the U.S. with the RURAL Act. This bipartisan legislation is a simple, one-page bill correcting an unintended problem created by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. This is important because it will continue to provide more than 900 electric cooperatives throughout the country much-needed protection from losing their tax-exempt status if they had accepted government grants in 2018 or 2019 for disaster relief, broadband service or other viable programs such as investing in renewable energy. Without this law in place, numerous co-ops would have had to start paying significant amounts in taxes this spring; in turn, members’ electricity rates would have increased to cover those taxes.

Passing the national RURAL Act was a top legislative priority last year due to the profound and potential threat it posed to the fundamental business model of not-for-profit electric co-ops — including Mississippi’s. In fact, a large group of Mississippians actively joined with tens of thousands of other co-op leaders, employees and members from across the U.S. to advocate for this bill. It’s important you know, too, that our entire Mississippi congressional delegation, both in the House and Senate, supported and voted for this legislation.

On behalf of the Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi, thank you to all who stand strong with us -— the more than 785,000 members who rely on Mississippi’s electric cooperatives for their power service.

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