Tennessee electric co-op tax break deemed unconstitutional

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The Tennessee Attorney General has issued an opinion saying that a tax break for electric cooperatives violates the state constitution.

Media outlets report that Attorney General Herbert Slatery’s opinion on the statute was finalized Wednesday. The statute says rural electric cooperatives are responsible for paying taxes, but are exempt from city and county property taxes on new facilities for the first four years of their operation.

Slatery writes that the only properties that are exempt from taxes fall into specific categories, such as property for religious or educational purposes. The rural electric cooperatives, Slatery says, don’t fall within any of those categories.

David Callis of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association says the group had only recently become aware of the exemption and had been working with state officials to take advantage of it.