Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chair Frank H. Murkowski (R-Alaska) has written a letter to Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin regarding regulation changes the Internal Revenue Service is considering, which would allow publicly owned utilities to expand use of tax-exempt bonds to compete against privately owned utilities.
Murkowski asked the IRS not to issue new regulations giving publicly owned utilities a "special competitive advantage" by allowing the companies to issue tax-exempt bonds. "This is a matter for the Congress to decide, not the IRS," concluded Murkowski.
Congressional review of the electric industry includes a report by the Joint Committee on Taxation on all federal tax provisions related to the electric power industry, he said. "This report will review these matters for investor-owned, publicly owned and cooperatively owned utilities, as well as for the other participants in the electric power industry," Murkowski wrote.
He said that existing tax-exempt bonds might already be in jeopardy due to ongoing changes in the electric power industry and regulations adopted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission regulations.