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Fiscal Cliff is Looming

What’s at Stake if Congress doesn’t Act by December 31st:

  • The maximum tax rate on dividend income will increase from 15% to a maximum of 43.4%.
  • Energy projects that create new jobs will be more difficult to finance.
  • Millions of Americans – from all income levels and age groups – who directly own stocks that pay dividends, are going to lose income.
  • Tax policy will favor capital gains over dividends. 
The lower dividend tax rate plays a critical role in utilities’ future ability to attract new investors, cost-effectively finance new projects, earn a fair return for shareholders, and keep electric costs low for their customers.

Action Needed!

Congress must act NOW!  Now is not the time to penalize Americans who have invested in our economy in the hopes of securing a modest retirement income.  Individual investors are major investors in natural gas and electric utilities because utilities are traditionally a reliable source of dividend income.  However, lower dividend tax rates don’t just benefit individual shareholders – they also support 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, pension funds, 401 (k) plans or individual retirement accounts.

Click the Defend my Dividend link.  On the DMD site, click on “Contact Congress”.  Complete the form on the right side of the page with your name and address and click “Next”.  The names and addresses of your elected officials will pop up with a draft letter for you to review and/or edit.  When you are happy with the letter, click “send”.

In addition to the email to your congressional representatives, you could also send a hand written letter.  As a constituent and shareholder it is important to tell your story.

Shareholders from Minnesota and Wisconsin Meet in Hudson

Utility company stock dividends and alternate fuel vehicles were primary topics Tuesday, Oct. 16, in Hudson at a joint regional meeting of Wisconsin Utility Investors and Minnesota Utility Investors. Several alternative fuel vehicles were parked at the entrance to the Hudson Golf Club, where 90 WUI and MUI members and guests could get a close-up look.

Participants received an update on the nationwide “Defend My Dividend” program by WUI Executive Director Bob Seitz, and were urged to ask their representatives in Congress to stop a pending stock dividend tax increase at the end of the year. He said that unless Congress and the President act to stop the increase, the current tax rate of 15 percent on dividends would increase to a top rate as high as 43 percent. He stressed that lower dividend tax rates do not just benefit direct shareholders, but also millions of Americans who own stock indirectly through pension funds, 401(k) plans, mutual funds and individual retirement accounts.  Click here to send your message to your congressional leaders.  (Follow the link to “Contact Congress”.)

According to a panel of alternative fuel vehicle specialists who spoke at the meeting, the role of utility companies as transportation fuel providers will increase as a growing number of automobile manufacturers offer alternative fuel vehicles. Examples on display Tuesday included an electric Chevy Volt, electric Ford Transit Connect and two compressed natural gas-powered Honda Civics. Thor Bjork of Xcel Energy said the projected increase in number of electric vehicles is expected to place manageable demand on his company’s  infrastructure, but distribution system demand issues might arise in a neighborhood where a cluster of electric vehicles recharges simultaneously. Panelists explained that electric vehicle recharging is practical for homes and businesses, but compressed natural gas fuel is generally best suited for fleet vehicles or trucks. La Crosse-based Kwik Trip is promoting and marketing CNG based on its own experience operating and maintaining its distribution fleet.

Stand up for Your Right to Earn a Dividend: Public Hearing October 1, 2012

Stand Up for Your Right to Earn a Dividend!

As Utility Investors, we make it possible for Wisconsin companies to provide clean, reliable energy to allow our state to grow. Shareholders in Wisconsin utilities have invested billions in recent years to meet expanding government requirements and to ensure reliable energy. All we ask is the opportunity to make a dividend that helps secure our retirement.  

Now, opponents of our hard-earned investment are trying to prevent the rate increase needed to pay for the the environmental investments required by law and the expanded electric generation the state says we need.

Please attend one of the Public Hearings on the Wisconsin Energy Rate Proposal  to the Public Service Commission and register in favor of this needed rate increase.

Monday, October 1, 2012

1:00 p.m.
Ambassador Inn, Marquette Room
2301 West Wisconsin Avenue
Milwaukee, WI

This is likely to be less crowded than the evening hearing.

Please note: the Ambassador Inn is located across Wisconsin Avenue from the Ambassador Hotel, click here for directions.


6:00 p.m.
Best Western Plus Midway Hotel and Suites
Underwood I Room
1005 South Moorland Road
Brookfield, WI 53005

Citizens can register their support. You don’t have to testify, unless you want to.

If you are able to attend and for more information, please call or email WUI (608-663-5813 or

Defend my Dividend

Click here to Defend Your Dividend

Call your Members of  Congress:  1-888-443-5863

Tell Congress:  Now is not the time to reduce dividends through higher taxes and penalize Americans who invest in our nation’s future.




Raymond and Connie are extraordinary WUI members who traveled all the way from Texas to attend our Fond du Lac Regional Meeting. Thank you Raymond and Connie, it was wonderful to meet you!

Our third WUI Regional Meeting for 2012 was held at the Holiday Inn,  Fond du Lac on Tuesday, July 17th.   Attendees learned more about the Defend my Dividend campaign and how to respond to the threat of a tax increase on our dividend income.  We are grateful to Representative Jeremy Thiesfeldt for speaking at our event and for sharing with our members the most effective ways to contact their legislators.  Rep. Thiesfeldt encouraged members to write a hand-written note to their legislators as this individual approach has a far greater effect on our representatives than a form letter.  WUI Executive Director, Robert Seitz,  added that multiple contacts (email, phone, and letters) will put members in the top two percent of constituents, as most people do not take the time to tell their legislators how policy is affecting them.  We are also appreciative of Alliant’s Regional Director of  Operations for North East WI,  Donna Braatz, who shared a company update video and answered questions at the meeting.  Donna is responsible for gas and electric emergency response, gas and electric reliability and service to the customer and communities in the North East region of Wisconsin.   Just as Donna is driven to do her job well because she is connected with the people she serves, we were given a personal insight into the workings of Alliant Energy Company.


Current tax rates on dividend income, which now are capped at
15 percent, are set to expire on December 31. For the millions
of Americans who own stocks that pay dividends, their tax rates
on this income would surge—almost tripling in some cases. Now
is not the time to reduce dividend income through higher taxes
and penalize Americans who invest in our nation’s future. Your
voice matters—click on the Defend My Dividend link above to
tell Congress to stop a dividend tax hike! A vote on these
issues could come as soon as the end of July.

If Congress and the President fail to stop a dividend tax hike,
investors will face a maximum 23.8-percent tax rate on capital
gains versus a maximum 43.4-percent rate on dividend
income. This will create a tax policy that distorts investment
decisions by favoring growth stocks and debt investments
over dividend-paying investments. That’s because investors
likely would retreat from stocks that pay dividends in favor of
other investments with a lower tax burden.

Such a trend invariably would erode the share prices
of many dividend-paying companies, whose stocks are
held by working families, retirees, and others who rely on
those investments for steady dividend income. That’s why
maintaining parity between the tax rates for dividends and
capital gains is essential.

Join Us In Asking Congress To Stop A Dividend Tax Hike.