TALLAHASSEE – AARP Florida is urging state utility regulators to permanently lower the rates that homeowners and businesses are charged for electricity, natural gas and other utilities after a federal tax overhaul took effect on Jan. 1.
Recent changes to federal tax law reduced the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. Accordingly, regulated utilities are clearly obligated to reduce rates immediately to reflect the tax savings, said Zayne Smith, Associate State Director for Advocacy for AARP Florida.
“Today, Floridians are paying utility rates that were intended to give utility companies a specified rate of return on their equity after having paid a higher corporate tax rate,” Smith said. “But under the new tax law, Florida utilities companies could realize significant savings. Now it’s important that the Florida Public Service Commission independently determine how to pass these savings along to Florida ratepayers, and ensure those savings are permanent.”
Florida utilities companies already have signaled that, due to the enactment of the tax law, they will scale back or drop requests to charge higher rates for Florida ratepayers to cover the cost of rebuilding from Hurricane Irma. However, Smith said, state regulators should review expected tax savings and make sure that rates are adjusted permanently to reflect the full savings.
In Florida and throughout the country, AARP is a strong and effective voice that works to save consumers money and to ensure that utility costs are affordable and fair to consumers.
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AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With nearly 38 million members and offices in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities and advocate for what matters most to families with a focus on health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also works for individuals in the marketplace by sparking new solutions and allowing carefully chosen, high-quality products and services to carry the AARP name. As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the world’s largest circulation publications, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.