School Tax Money Taken From Schools For Vogtle
Summary for School Executives from SaveSchoolMoney.org
September 24, 2019

Schools never really have enough money.  In Georgia a highly profitable company is taking scarce school money for a private project.  This is wrong and needs to stop.

 Millions of Georgia school tax dollars voted by local people for schools are taken from schools and are being spent on building Plant Vogtle. This is wrong and needs to stop.

SaveSchoolMoney.org Point of View

Look on the school’s electric bill.  There is an added surcharge that takes school money and gives it to Georgia Power and Southern Company to subsidize Plant Vogtle.  Ten cents would be ten cents too much.

View: People did NOT vote school taxes to go to build a power plant.

 

 Typical school money taken & more taken every month

Verified: Dekalb County Schools paid over 3.84 MILLION since 2014.
FY19-20 Estimate to be between $ 703 – 890k.

Estimated and reported in news stories:

$30,000 taken yearly Dade County Schools

$271,000 taken yearly Chatham County Schools

$95,000 taken yearly Richmond County Schools

Gwinnett Schools…biggest district, probably the most

A small Georgia school district reported it could have hired a teacher with the taken money.

Chatham County could have hired four teachers.


Do Georgia Power and Southern Company REALLY NEED to take school money for their new plant?  Of course not.  But they take it every day.


2019 Senate Bill 211  Would Exempt Schools from paying to build Vogtle.  Support This Senate Bill

Sponsors

L. Tippins  37 Marietta
B. Cowsert  46 Athens
C. Hufstetler  52 Rome
G. Kirk  13 Americus
E. Black  8 Valdosta
R. Unterman  45 Buford

 

On The Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee:

Bill Cowsert, Chairman  Athens
Matt Brass, Vice Chairman  Newnan
John Kennedy, Secretary  Macon
Ed Harbison  Columbus
P.K. Martin  Lawrenceville
Lindsey Tippins  Marietta
John Albers  Roswell
Frank Ginn  Danielsville
Steve Gooch  Dahlonega
Steve Henson  Stone Mountain
Jack Hill  Reidsville
David Lucas  Macon
Butch Miller  Gainesville
Jeff Mullis  Chickamuga


 

____________________________________________

Taking money with one hand and granting money with the other: Grants to school districts from The Georgia Power Foundation

… through the Georgia Power Foundation, we contributed over $6 million to educational programming, schools, scholarships and educator training

[From their Web site:  https://www.georgiapower.com/community/education.html]

In 2019 a lobbyist suggested that GPF was increasing its grants to some school districts. [Is this to keep them quiet?]. Our reply is:  “It’s a very poor way to finance schools to depend on the largess of Georgia Power

Comment:  Yes they give money for education via contribution.  GP likely gets a tax break on it so It’s likely a net gain for them.  Taking in millions from schools for Vogtle construction -tax free. Then with the other hand, give money to schools in grants via a tax-break foundation. Meanwhile keep some school districts quiet on the surcharge. …and get good corporate citizen burnishing.

 

Millions of Georgia school tax dollars voted by local people for schools are taken from schools and are being spent on building Plant Vogtle. This is wrong and needs to stop. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

Yes! Schools Carry MORE BURDEN Than Some Other Customers

Big industrial users are not paying and carrying the same burden as others…that’s why they have been so quiet on Vogtle.

Some get a pass and don't pay the surtax as schools do:

Schools are on the standard “firm rate” for electric service. Firm rates include the NCCR (Nuclear Construction Cost Recovery) surcharge. So schools pay extra for Vogtle with school tax money.

Large electric customers that are on “marginal rates,” such as time-of-use and real-time-pricing rates, do not pay the NCCR charge on their bills nor do they make any contribution to capital costs. Large industrial and commercial customers may get a small fraction (10% to 30%) of their electric service on a firm rate, but the rest of their electric service is under a marginal rate. If a large industrial customer gets 80% of their electric service on a marginal rate they don’t really care about paying the NCCR charge and capital cost on the small firm portion of their bill. It is a huge savings for them, and they eventually will get the benefit of the Vogtle 3 and 4 generation.

The large industrial and commercial customers have been silent for years about the waste and cost overruns at Vogtle because they don’t really pay for the overruns.

Reference: Robert B. Baker, P.C. Past GAPSC Commissioner. Law practice focused on regulatory and public policy matters in Georgia and the Southeast.

 

Power company profits went up [and are up] when schools began paying the surcharge:

Source: https://nonukesyall.org/images/Georgia-Power-Profits-2005-2015.gif

 

Recent headline about Georgia Power in Yahoo News: 

 Will Southern Company Stock Continue to Soar?

Vineet Kulkarni  Market Realist  September 9, 2019

Southern Company (SO) stock continued its momentum and gained almost 3% last week. SO stock has rallied more than 35% year-to-date.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/m/fc9854c5-4705-3374-87d8-155d8a5f162f/will-southern-company-stock.html

Q: If schools stop paying the surcharge, how will Southern Company and Georgia Power manage to pay for Vogtle construction?

A: They have been enjoying highest profits ever. Why should they be allowed to keep cheating school children and teachers out of millions in money voted for schools.  No one voted for Southern Company to get school tax money for their plant.  No one agreed for them to get surcharge money year after year…. Maybe from the millions in profits or dividends or from huge salaries.   Or issue stock or borrow it like other business do.

 

Q: What if schools are exempted from paying the surcharge? Won’t others want exemption too? 

A: Yes, they probably will. We need to stop the taking of school money now, Schools need all their money now for children and teachers, and we’re for that.  Many know that the wording of the 2008 law was planned by the power company. We plan to correct this in 2020 so they leave school money alone.  This is another element showing why taking money for a private project is a flawed idea.

School Taxes Voted For Schools Subsidize New Nuclear Plant Vogtle 3&4

1.      Vogtle will be the most expensive power plant in the world.

2.                              South Carolina was building a much promoted in Georgia “twin” of Vogtle. Promoted because it was supposed to help keep costs down as they were being built together. As costs went up and up, SC quit. With a smaller population to bear the costs, and maybe better sense, they threw in the towel.  The PR touting of the “twin” has vanished.

3.                              In Georgia the promoted promise of low cost electricity that was the cry is dead.  Experts that gave warning of huge costs were right and electricity costs will now be higher and the “theory” to justify taking money up front from customers and benefit them later with low cost electricity is gone.

4.                              The cry of “lower cost electricity” and need for more power as the justifications for Vogtle have gone. Now new “justifications” are promoted: “carbon-free”,”24 hour a day dependable”, “creates jobs”, “national leadership”, ‘keep nuclear alive” etc.  These new reasons for Vogtle would have not carried favor years ago if put against the projected costs then and the staggering cost now apparent.

5.                              Another justification claim was a big need for more power. Recently, Georgia Power’s own numbers from their own power studies [introduced as evidence at the PSC] show that more power [from Vogtle] is not needed. …Some power experts believe that the power generated by Vogtle 3&4 will be sold on the grid to other states at a profit for the company, with the cost burdens on Georgians.

6.                              Nuclear is not really clean: Thousands of pounds of highly toxic very dirty poisonous waste must be kept very safe from getting out and managed with high security…for thousands of years.  The reason nuclear appears clean is that they trap and hide under lock and key the extremely dirty waste that nuclear produces each day.

7.                              Project Years late… this means that schools and other customers are kept paying the construction surcharge years longer than originally anticipated when Vogtle 3&4 were pushed onto Georgia.

8.                              Billions over presented projected costs. Put onto people and schools.

9.                              Most everyone pays a surcharge on the price of the electricity used to subsidize.  Paying more years than originally presented.


 

History Information From 2009  By Georgia Watch

Senate Bill 31 – Georgia Power’s prepay financing scheme May 29, 2009   from GeorgiaWatch  http://georgiawatch.org/senate-bill-31-georgia-powers-prepay-financing-scheme/

Sen. Don Balfour (R-Snellville) sponsored Senate Bill 31, which is now known as the Georgia Power tax. The controversial bill moved swiftly through both chambers and lander on Governor Perdue’s desk long before the session ended.-
SB 31, more commonly known as the Georgia Power tax, forces the utility’s customers to pay $2 billion dollars beginning in 2011 for the financing of new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle. One billion of this Georgia Power tax is early profit for the company and approximately $500 million is the prepayment of taxes.

According to Georgia Power’s own estimates, consumers with an average monthly power bill of $100 will pay an extra $1.30 per month on their bill, and see that amount increase to about $9.10 per month by 2017. Unforeseeable construction delays at Vogtle mean monthly increases could be much higher.

What’s more, the monthly increases in electric bills we will all see are estimates – Georgia Power’s lowball estimates – and are subject to change with any delays the expansion at Votgle may incur.

For example, if weather delays a day’s work, we as ratepayers must still pay for the loss of time. Similar projects in Alabama and Florida saw the cost of construction rise exponentially once building was underway due to unforsseable delays.

Legislators, consumer advocates and conservative bloggers that opposed the bill claimed its passage was due to Georgia Power’s well-connected, persistent lobbyists. To help Sen. Balfour make the case for SB 31, the utility hired 70 professional lobbyists.

During the first weeks of the 2009 session they filled capital hallways and spent thousands on dinners, drinks, sports tickets and other events for legislators in hopes of buying “yea” votes.

The legislature overwhelmingly adopted this tax increase and early profit scheme in spite of testimony at the legislature and the Public Service Commission that this would harm consumers and cost Georgians hundreds of millions more.

In April, Govorner Perdue signe SB 31 into law. Senator Robert Brown (D-Macon) immediately filed a repeal.

Opponents of the bill included: Georgia Watch, AARP Georgia, Clark Howard and the conservative blog, Peach Pundit, among others.