Oppose $4 Billion New Electricity Tax

January 13, 2014

Texas is under an all-out assault from multi-billion dollar electricity generators and Wall Street firms that are pushing the Public Utility Commission of Texas to impose a $4 billion a year electricity tax on Texas consumers that will be used to fund $4 billion a year of corporate welfare that will put taxpayers – not companies – responsible for building new generating capacity.  This is actually yet another government bailout of  companies that have invested in Texas generation and now are not seeing the returns that had hoped for.

Two of the PUC commissioners, both appointed by Gov. Rick Perry, are in favor of this scheme are moving through the regulatory process. This will be the biggest tax increase in that I’ve seen in my 20  years of working in Austin.  It is a regulatory scheme sweeping the nation and is called “capacity markets

This is corporate welfare, and must be stopped.

Though most business groups oppose this, the generators have a strong incentive to put big money into this campaign and will vastly outspend our side in this battle. So we need pressure from the grassroots on the governor’s office and the PUC to help turn back the tide. Americans for Prosperity has joined a coalition to stop an electricity tax and the re-regulation of the Texas electricity market.

The Texas Public Policy Foundation has issued a report with some disturbing findings – http://www.texaspolicy.com/center/economic-freedom/reports/capacity-markets-represent-bad-bargain-texas-consumers exposing this scheme as a bad deal for Texas consumers.

We encourage AFP activists to contact your legislators and ask them to help stop this new tax on electricity users.  The switchboard at the state capitol is 512-463-4630.  Call the Governor’s office at 800) 843-5789 (or (512) 463-1782 in the Austin area)  or send  a message online http://governor.state.tx.us/contact/.   And contact the Public Utility Commission – http://www.puc.texas.gov/agency/about/contact/Default.aspx.

TPPF sums it up accurately – Capacity markets will not improve ERCOT’s capacity or reliability; a capacity market’s inherent inefficiencies and artificial incentives cannot compete with the energy-only market, making it a bad bargain for Texas ratepayers.

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