No rational person would conclude that an $800 million carbon tax on two-thirds of all electricity generation in Pennsylvania will “supercharge PA’s economy, especially for small businesses.” Yet, that is precisely what the so-called “Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia” and “Keystone Energy Efficiency Alliance” would have you believe in an opinion editorial recently published in the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The only accurate statement in the entire article is that “Small businesses are the lifeblood of the American economy” and in Pennsylvania, “they constitute a staggering 99.6 percent of all businesses, and employ nearly half of the private workforce.” The balance of the article is nothing more than a rehash of long-since rebutted talking points in support of an $800 million per year carbon tax at the core of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).
Not surprisingly, these elitist organizations that have long and unsuccessfully advocated for the RGGI carbon tax, along with an even more devastating, economy-wide carbon tax on manufacturers, refiners, and other industries, go on to applaud Governor Josh Shapiro’s decision to appeal an overwhelming and bipartisan rejection of the RGGI carbon tax by Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court.
What they fail to mention is that then-Attorney General Shapiro refused to defend then-Governor Tom Wolf’s RGGI carbon tax. This, in turn, forced then-Governor Wolf to engage an expensive Philadelphia law firm to defend his patently unconstitutional carbon tax. Even after spending hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on litigation that the Attorney General, by law, should have defended, the Commonwealth Court’s RGGI rejection opinion was “NOT REPORTED.” This means the decision has no binding or precedential impact on future agency actions. In light of this, it is certainly curious, and definitely disingenuous, for the Governor to claim he was informed by his advisers to appeal the decision to protect future agency rulemaking authority. At this point, Governor Shapiro now owns RGGI and all its implications, especially the continued impacts its mere threat has had on Pennsylvania workers and families.
As the Pennsylvania State Director for the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization representing 13,000 small businesses in PA, and 300,000 nationwide, I’m here to tell you that small businesses do not support RGGI. That’s why NFIB filed an amicus brief on the issue and balloted our members to see where they stood. Not surprisingly, only eleven percent of our 13,000 members support, while over 75 percent fiercely oppose RGGI.
Here’s the truth: As the Pennsylvania Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) reported, virtually all of the $800 million RGGI carbon tax will be passed on to residential, commercial, and industrial customers, and that small business and residential customers will pay nearly 50 percent more of that increase than the average of all customer classes. It’s simple economics, honestly, which is something that climate elites rarely understand, or simply don’t care.
It’s time we stick to the facts: Small businesses do not want RGGI, and NFIB will hold Governor Shapiro accountable for his political stunts on the campaign trail that led small business owners to believe he wouldn’t insert himself in the RGGI case. He lied. Plain and simple.
Greg Moreland is the Pennsylvania State Director of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).