Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Response to 'tax break' question

U.S. Public Interest Research Group and Citizens for Tax Justice on Jan. 18 released a list of 30 corporations that paid little or no taxes and spent more in lobbying efforts to obtain tax breaks. The list includes Wisconsin Energy Corporation, our parent company.

In short, tying lobbying to taxes is wrong because there is no connection. Our lobbying efforts focus on energy policy, environmental matters, electric reliability and renewable generation -- all of direct benefit to our customers.

Wisconsin Energy is in total compliance with federal and state tax laws. The corporation's 10-K filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission show effective tax rate percentages of 37.7, 36.5, and 35.5 for years 2008, 2009, and 2010, respectively.

President Obama and Congress enacted, as a matter of public policy, tax laws to give corporations incentives to make capital investments to spur economic growth. The benefits of the tax incentives were passed on to customers in the form of reduced utility rates. However, the accelerated tax depreciation must be paid back in future years as required by law. For Wisconsin Energy, the amount is more than $200 million.

Because Wisconsin Energy's major subsidiaries, such as We Energies, are regulated utilities, any taxes paid are recoverable in electric and natural gas rates, and any tax benefits are returned to customers in the form of lower rates. To that end, the corporation plans to continue to maximize the tax benefits allowed by law on behalf of customers and stockholders.

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