Things are going from bad to worse for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s crony capitalist green energy subsidy boondoggle.
For readers who remain unaware of this catastrophe, last August the state’s Public Service Commission (appointed entirely by Gov. Cuomo himself) rushed through a “Clean Energy Standard” requiring 50% of state power to come from green sources by 2030. It forces healthy power companies to buy “Zero Emission Credits” from a state bureaucracy, whose proceeds in turn go to struggling upstate plants. And here’s the kicker. In addition to costing New York citizens and businesses $1 billion in its first year and an estimated $8 billion over the course of the scheme, all of those subsidies go to plants owned by a single company named Exelon. In other words, a state-level Solyndra.
Now even the left-leaning Albany Times Union is excoriating this debacle in a new piece entitled “A Surprise Tax on the Way”:
By its own account, 2016 was a ‘monumental year’ for Exelon, for good reason. It’s not every year that a company gets a $7.6 billion boost courtesy of New Yorkers.
Exelon is slated to reap that windfall over the next 12 years through a fee on just about anyone who gets an electric bill in New York, all to support its nuclear power plants in the state. That’s an energy tax by any other name, but as a fee levied by a state commission, it has drawn far less attention that, say, an income tax increase of that scale would receive…
One might be tempted to say, fine, let communities make up their own minds about nuclear power, except for this: The entire state will have to foot the bill for a $7.6 billion economic development program to pay for 2,100 jobs for just a dozen more years and directly enrich one of the nation’s wealthiest power companies. All this was decided by the governor and three members of the Public Service Commission (which will shortly be down to only two). Hardly taxation with representation.”
The good news, as the Times Union notes, is that the state legislature can quickly remedy the situation:
Lawmakers, however, will have a chance to take a closer look at this huge corporate subsidy for a company with an annual net income of more than $2 billion…
With the fee due to take effect in April, and the legislature next week scheduled to review the energy and environment portions of the governor’s budget, it’s a good time for lawmakers to consider if this is the best route to a clean energy future, the best way to help upstate communities, and the best use of the public’s money. They may agree this is a reasonable short-term strategy. Or they may conclude there are far better investments the state could make in these areas and in clean energy, at far less cost to hard-working New Yorkers.”
For the sake of New York consumers and businesses, hopefully legislators will heed that advice and put an end to a program that has already proven a disaster, and will only get worse if allowed to continue into the next decade.