Electric cooperative employees who participate in 401(k) retirement savings plans would get as much as $100 from the U.S. Treasury in their accounts each year under a bipartisan bill introduced Tuesday in the House.
Endorsed by NRECA, the legislation would benefit an estimated 170,000 employees of co-ops and other small tax-exempt organizations by giving them a tax credit equal to 10% of their employer’s 401(k) contributions—up to a maximum of $100 per worker per year.
“Electric co-ops are barred from utilizing tax credits offered to for-profit companies to encourage them to provide 401(k) benefits,” said Chris Stephen, NRECA’s lead advocate on employee benefits issues. “This bill would end that unfair disparity and give hardworking co-op employees a boost.”
The legislation, offered by Reps. Ron Kind, D-Wis., and Mike Kelly, R-Pa., is supported by a coalition of 11 not-for-profit groups, including NRECA, the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives and NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association.
“Our core missions are to provide food, electricity, broadband, and other necessities of life, educate and empower children, care for the most vulnerable, and promote the sustainable development of the communities in which our millions of members, volunteers and beneficiaries live,” the coalition members said in a statement urging lawmakers to co-sponsor the bill.
“However, we are not eligible under current rules to utilize critical tax credits to start retirement plans for employees that are available to other organizations, or to adopt certain pro-participant retirement security features … [This bill] levels the playing field.”
The Retirement Tax Credit Parity for Cooperatives and Charities Act also has the support of the American Benefits Council, a national trade association that advocates for employer-sponsored benefit plans.
Reps. Kind and Kelly both serve on the House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over retirement tax provisions and will likely take up the legislation and decide whether to recommend its passage by the full House later this year.