Category Archives: defend my dividend

Lisa Dundon AGA Releases Statement in Response to Passage of the American Taxpayer Relief Act

AGA released the following statement in response to the passage of the American Taxpayer Relief Act.

“This package is one that has significant implications for investors, our economy and industry across the board,” said AGA President and CEO, Dave McCurdy. “While it is disappointing that the White House and Congress weren’t able to reach a broad, comprehensive agreement to address the long term deficit, the agreement reached today is a step in the right direction. We have managed to get some short term certainty with this legislation, and we will continue our efforts in 2013 to help find a bipartisan solution to the important fiscal challenges that still need to be addressed.”

The deal will preserve and make permanent 15 percent tax rates for dividends and capital gains for individuals earning up to $400,000 or couples earning up to $450,000, while dividends and capital gains for families who earn more than $450,000 will be taxed at 20 percent—also permanent.

“AGA and its members have continued to emphasize the importance of low dividends, parity with capital gains and what those actions mean for our economy, investors, retirees and industry,” said AGA Board Chairman and Chairman, President and CEO – Questar Corp., Ron Jibson. “We are still in recovery mode, and I am pleased to see Congress take this action today to help sustain this economic recovery. While there is still work to be done, recognizing the importance of low rates for dividends and parity with capital gains is significant, and we look forward to addressing the important issues left on the table in 2013.”

Jibson continued, “Keeping dividends low will help utilities expand and rebuild their infrastructure, in turn, helping to meet the nation’s energy needs and deliver on the promises of clean, affordable and domestic natural gas for our economy, environment and national security.”

Lower dividend tax rates benefit the tens of millions of Americans who own stocks indirectly through mutual funds, and they support the value of stocks held through or in life insurance policies, employer or union pension funds, 401(k) plans, or individual retirement accounts. Lower dividend tax rates also benefit Americans who own no stocks or mutual funds by helping to spur the growth that is needed to create new jobs and to strengthen the economy. Parity between dividends and capital gains creates a level playing field and allows investors to make decisions rather than creating a tax code driven bias for one over the other.

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Chris Hogan High dividend tax rates will negatively impact utilities

Check out this great in-depth discussion from Fox Business News about how raising dividend tax rates will negatively impact the utility industry.  Featured is Caroline Dorsa, CFO of Public Service Enterprise Group, a New Jersey based energy utility and one of the ten largest electric companies in the country.



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Chris Hogan White House Supports Keeping Maximum Dividend Tax Rate At 20%

Even as our nation begins to slowly recover from one of the worst economic periods since the Great Depression, Congress may yet go after investors by raising taxes on dividend income.  The White House, through the statements of Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, appears to have solidified its support for fair and reasonable dividend tax rates.

President Obama’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2011 maintains the 15-percent tax rate on dividends for most middle-income taxpayers and a zero-percent rate for low-income taxpayers. For married taxpayers earning more than $250,000 ($200,000 for single taxpayers), the tax rate on dividends is increased to a reasonable 20 percent.  That is both fair and supports the investment goals of hard working Americans in all tax brackets.

Defend My Dividend, the grassroots campaign dedicated to preserving lower dividend tax rates, supports this proposal. For older investors who rely on dividends that might mean more active income – money to pay for food and medicine – and for those still working it may mean more money to put toward their future and that of their children.

By attracting new investment, companies like utilities are able to raise the capital needed to expand their delivery infrastructure to serve more customers, while also investing in new, cleaner generating capacity and environmental and energy efficiency improvements.

In recent months however, the White House has sent mixed messages regarding its stance on dividend tax rates, not wholly unexpected as public debate and political posturing on taxes has increased as well.  Treasury Secretary Geithner said on several occasions that current lower tax rates should be extended for the middle class and allowed to expire for the top two percent of earners.

The question remained: does such a plan affect all taxes that were reduced as part of the 2003 package, including dividend tax rates?  Was the administration going to stick to its own budget proposal?

Almost immediately, Defend My Dividend and other key coalitions began to dig into his statements, looking for some clear messaging about dividend tax rates.

Last week we got an answer from Geithner himself.  Making the rounds of the Sunday political talk shows and sitting for a Reuters’ interview, he clearly stated that the tax rate for dividends and capital gains should not be allowed to rise above 20 percent.  “We think it makes sense to make sure that 98 percent of Americans and 97 percent of small businesses see continuity in their taxes and we want to keep capital gains and dividends from rising above 20 percent.”

This is a very important development that clarifies the administration’s support for lower dividend tax rates – one that we support and applaud.

Now Congress needs to act on the president’s responsible support for keeping dividend tax rates from rising above 20 percent.  It’s the right thing to do for America’s investors and for the economy.

To learn more about Defend My Dividend, visit our website where you can read the facts about dividend tax rates, take action to show your support and quickly and easily send a letter right to your representatives and senators.

You can also contact us at: info@DefendMyDividend.org.

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Chris Hogan Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act

On June 30, 2010, the House passed the Conference Report on H.R. 4173, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.  Senate procedures and the funeral for Senator Byrd (D-WV) will prevent a final vote until after the July 4th recess.

Natural gas utilities that use OTC derivatives to manage price volatility will not be required to conduct OTC derivatives transactions on an exchange or through a clearinghouse.  We sought to clarify certain definitions in the legislation to make the exemption more clear.   While our legislative recommendations were not included, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Dodd and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Lincoln signed a joint letter to House Financial Services Committee Chairman Frank and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Peterson that addresses many our concerns.  This letter was incorporated into the Congressional Record on June 30th by the two House Committee Chairmen.  This letter should provide valuable guidance to the SEC and CFTC as they develop regulations on these issues.  To view the joint letter, please click here.

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