It was a good way to end the year.
In 2019, I used this page several times to advocate for passage of the Revitalizing Underdeveloped Rural Areas and Lands Act (S. 1032/H.R. 2147), which ensures co-ops do not jeopardize their tax-exempt status when they accept government grants. As of this writing, the RURAL Act was included in the 11th-hour tax package negotiated by Congress before it left for the year. Passage of this bipartisan legislation will mean Oregon’s electric co-ops do not have to choose among their tax status, rebuilding their infrastructure or deploying broadband.
Our Oregon congressional delegation rallied behind the RURAL Act—Congressman Greg Walden was particularly outspoken—but we believed the bill’s ultimate fate rested with U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden. His leadership post on the Senate Finance Committee gave him a unique opportunity to be in the room during the year-end tax negotiations when the deal would be done. And it turned out he was in the room, fighting—and delivering—for rural Oregon.
We certainly appreciate Sen. Wyden’s leadership and that of the entire Oregon House delegation. It was a nice Christmas present from the U.S. Congress and, in the darkest of political times, a shining example of bipartisan cooperation that used to be commonplace, but has recently faded away, like memories of a distant year. May we see more of this in 2020.
Happy New Year.