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TAMPA ELECTRIC OPPOSES MORE NEW TAXES ON CUSTOMERS; FLORIDA UTILITY TAXES NOW TWICE THE NATIONAL AVERAGE

 TAMPA ELECTRIC OPPOSES MORE NEW TAXES ON CUSTOMERS;
 FLORIDA UTILITY TAXES NOW TWICE THE NATIONAL AVERAGE
 TAMPA, Fla., Jan. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Tampa Electric Company said today it strongly opposes any new tax increase proposals in Florida that would boost monthly electric bills for its more than 465,000 customers.
 Florida utilities and their customers already have a tax burden that is roughly twice the national average. In 1988, according to a national report, Florida levied $80 per capita in taxes on utilities compared with the national average of $43 per capita.
 Tampa Electric President Girard F. Anderson said, "Our objective at all times is to provide reliable electricity while keeping electric bills as low as possible. However, our hard work is no match for a variety of state fees and taxes which, without our endorsement, can be levied on customers in the form of higher electric bills."
 As an example, Anderson said the gross receipts tax has increased during the last two years, and will increase a third time on July 1.
 He added, "As taxes go, there is just no solid economic rationale for singling out utility services for taxation."
 In particular, Gov. Chiles' proposal to remove the sales tax exemption on power plant boiler fuels is especially alarming. Anderson said, "The increase in state sales tax would not be absorbed by Tampa Electric, but rather, passed directly to customers through their monthly fuel charges. Although the proposal would boost the tax burden on customers, the increase would be hidden in their higher monthly electric bills."
 Anderson said Tampa Electric's average residential bill for 1,000 kilowatt-hours would increase about $1.75 if the fuel tax exemption is removed. In the process, it would virtually wipe out economic improvements achieved over the past six years. "During that period, Tampa Electric has succeeded in lowering its annual fuel costs per net kilowatt-hour generated by about 6 percent, from 2.45 cents in 1985 to 2.29 cents in 1991," said Anderson.
 Tampa Electric's tax payments to federal, state and local authorities in 1991 amounted to about $177 million on gross receipts of $1.032 billion. A brief summary of Tampa Electric's 1991 tax payments is included as follows:
 Income Tax $58 million
 Sales Tax $19 million
 Utility Tax $25 million
 Taxes (FICA, Gross Receipts, Property, etc.) $75 million
 Total $177 million
 -0- 1/30/92
 /CONTACT: Mike Mahoney of Tampa Electric Company, 813-228-4271 (office), or 813-961-9456 (home)/ CO: Tampa Electric Company ST: Florida IN: UTI SU:


JJ -- FL006 -- 5274 01/30/92 13:09 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 30, 1992
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