AFP Rips Senate Environment and Energy Committee for Moving “Irresponsible and Reckless” RGGI CR
Pro-Taxpayer Group Says RGGI Cap-and-Trade Scheme Does Not Belong in NJ Constitution
TRENTON, NJ – Americans for Prosperity, New Jersey’s leading pro-taxpayer group, is blasting members of the Senate Environment and Energy Committee for moving a “reckless and irresponsible” constitutional amendment to embed cap-and-trade in the state constitution.
“The majority party has us on a dangerous and disturbing course that should be of significant concern to all New Jerseyans,” said Mike Proto, AFP’s communications director, who testified against the bill today. “Amending our state constitution should be reserved for rare circumstances and not policy fights like RGGI or the minimum wage. This is why we have elections, this is why we have a state Legislature and a governor: to hash things out during a deliberative democratic process. Frankly, it’s irresponsible and it’s reckless.”
“Amending the constitution on a policy matter is bad enough, but making permanent the RGGI Cap-and-Trade electricity tax would be pure lunacy,” continued Proto. “This program is a failure that has done nothing but levy a tax on residents and businesses that makes it harder for them to keep their lights on, keep their businesses running and create jobs in New Jersey.”
“It’s also rather offensive and ironic to hear Chairman Smith refer to the governor as a ‘thief’ for using RGGI monies to plug budget holes. After all, it’s Senator Smith and his allies who have their hands in ratepayers’ pockets on this and a host of other issues to fund their pet projects,” Proto said. “If that’s not thievery I don’t know what is.”
“RGGI supporters claim the program is economically beneficial but that amounts to ‘voodoo enviro-nomics’. If the RGGI tax creates jobs and prosperity then so does the income tax, the sales tax or the property tax. Does anyone believe that? This is Keyenesian babble,” noted Proto.
“Even worse, this artificial market that’s been created, and which operates in secret, is being exploited by speculators who see an easy money-making opportunity. Now that the RGGI cap has been ratcheted down 45%, the speculators are jumping back in with two feet, expecting a massive return on their investment all on the backs of ratepayers. RGGI has stated that permits selling for $3 now could be worth $10 by 2020.”
“Is this what RGGI supporters believe is good policy? Allowing Wall Street banks to enrich themselves off of a tax paid by New Jersey ratepayers?” Proto asked.
“Gov. Christie did the right thing when he pulled New Jersey out of RGGI. This program has no business being in our constitution and, to the contrary, should be repealed whole cloth.”
The committee voted 4-1 on the RGGI bill with only state Senator Jen Beck (R-11) in opposition. Sen. Kip Bateman (R-16), Chairman Bob Smith (D-17), Sen. Jim Whelan (D-2) and Sen. Linda Greenstein (D-14) voted in favor.
“AFP thanks Senator Beck for standing up for ratepayers and defending our democratic principles on this issue.”
AFP will score this bill when it comes up before the full senate on the pro-taxpayer group’s Taxpayer Scorecard.
Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is a nationwide organization of citizen-leaders committed to advancing every individual’s right to economic freedom and opportunity. AFP believes reducing the size and intrusiveness of government is the best way to promote individual productivity and prosperity for all Americans. AFP educates and engages citizens to support restraining state and federal government growth and returning government to its constitutional limits. AFP is more than 2 million activists strong, with activists in all 50 states. AFP has 34 state chapters and affiliates. More than 85,000 Americans in all 50 states have made a financial contribution to AFP or AFP Foundation. For more information, visit www.americansforprosperity.org
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