OUR OPINION: TVA pays $40.8 million to state in place of tax levies

By NEMS Daily Journal

TVA’s board of directors approved its final round of tax-equivalent payments in the 2012 fiscal cycle Nov. 15 – $579 million total for its seven service-region states, plus Illinois, where it owns proven but unmined coal reserves.
Mississippi received $40.878 million in 2012, fourth highest among the seven-state region. Tennessee, Alabama and Kentucky received more from the annual dispersal. Mississippi’s total was about $7 million higher than in 2011.
Northeast Mississippi counties received $4.612 million in direct payments, with Benton County’s $3.7 million topping the list. The county is the site of a large natural gas power operation purchased in 2011 for $436 million, and its value is reflected in the county’s direct payment.
Other disbursements are based primarily on power sales within counties. Lee County, for example, received more than $555,000 in two payments from the state, which received the $40 million, then redistributed it based on a legislatively devised formula, the standard practice in all TVA states.
TVA provides tax-equivalent payments to state and local governments in the eight states in which the agency sells electricity or owns power production assets. It is used for economic development and other, similar categories.
TVA is typically exempt from all taxes. However, TVA is required under the TVA Act to make annual tax-equivalent payments to help states and counties.
TVA’s facilities and holdings in Mississippi are increasing as the authority purchases new power generation centers and other assets.
TVA estimates equivalent payments of $536 million for fiscal year 2013, reflecting what it describes as a “slow economy” and lower TVA power sales, partly attributed to a warmer, milder winter in 2011-2012. TVA returns 5 percent of power sales revenues from the previous year in the form of tax- equivalents.
TVA reported that it has made more than $10.3 billion in tax-equivalent payments since 1941, with payments in the past 10 years totaling $4.4 billion.
TVA serves 9 million customers in Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia.