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Posts Tagged ‘New York’
June 16th, 2017 at 12:32 pm
N.Y. State Senator Flanagan Fights Gov. Cuomo’s Crony Capitalist Green Energy Subsidy Boondoggle
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There’s additional reason for optimism amid the ongoing battle against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s crony-capitalist green energy subsidy boondoggle that CFIF has been monitoring since last summer.

Cuomo’s “Clean Energy Standard” (CES) scheme mandates that fully half of all state energy be generated by carbon-neutral plants in just over a decade.  Alarmingly, it comes at a cost of $1 billion in just its first two years, and $8 billion over its entire term.  Making matters worse, it amounts to crony capitalism because all of the CES subsidies would go to a single company named Exelon, owner of the financially unsustainable upstate nuclear plants.  And conspicuously, the plan was approved by a Power Service Commission (PSC) composed entirely of members selected by Cuomo.

Opposition to the boondoggle is bipartisan, and even environmental groups have attacked it as an “$8 billion bailout of three upstate nuclear power plants.”

And who would pay?  New York consumers.

But now, Republican state senator John Flanagan has proposed an alternative funding mechanism, one that would spare pressed taxpayers from paying through the nose to sustain failing nuclear energy plants at the center of the controversial program, as reported by Politico:

‘The state already devotes substantial resources to clean energy, and we are supporting of many of those initiatives,’ said Flanagan spokesman Scott Reif.  ‘We believe that this can be funded through existing resources, and not on the backs of ratepayers.’

Flanagan’s proposal retains the subsidy for nuclear plants, which has strong support from upstate members of his conference who represent districts in which the plants are located.  At the same time, it lessens the impact on ratepayers of the subsidy, including those in Flanagan’s district on Long Island who are still paying for the shuttered Shoreham nuclear plant.

It would also gut a key part of Cuomo’s ambitious renewable energy plan, of which the nuclear subsidy is a component.  Cuomo officials have touted the subsidy, which pays the owner of the nuclear plants based on the social cost of carbon avoided by the zero-emissions attribute of the plants, as a bridge to renewable energy sources, ensuring that the plants aren’t replaced with fossil fuel generators.

Flanagan’s measure eliminates that portion of the Clean Energy Standard and requires ratepayers to get a refund.”

CFIF applauds Flanagan’s leadership in highlighting how Cuomo’s Solyndra-like green energy bailout is a costly loser for New York state ratepayers.  Now it’s up to both the New York House and Senate to resolve this matter before its session ends next week.

June 2nd, 2017 at 4:46 pm
PSC Confirmation Hearing Offers New York State Senators Opportunity to Demand Answers and Changes to Cuomo’s “Clean Energy Standard” Boondoggle
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Since its inception last August, CFIF has been exposing New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s crony-capitalist, costly, climate alarmist “Clean Energy Standard” (CES) boondoggle imposed by the state’s Public Service Commission (PSC) composed entirely of his personal appointees.

Now, there’s a perfect opportunity for state senators to hold Cuomo accountable and expose for state residents the unfairness, expense and tawdry cronyism of the entire crumbling program.

By way of refresher, Cuomo’s CES scheme mandates that fully half of all state energy be generated by carbon-neutral plants in just over a decade.  The cost?  A whopping $1 billion in just its first two years, and $8 billion over its entire term.  And how is it a perfect example of crony capitalism, which can rot our democratic process?  Well, because the CES plan’s subsidies will go to a single company named Exelon, which owns financially unsustainable upstate nuclear plants.  The plan is so objectionable that opposition has been fierce and bipartisan, with environmental groups attacking it as an “$8 billion bailout of three upstate nuclear power plants.”

Strong stuff.

Next week, however, Cuomo’s nominee for new PSC chairman, John Rhodes, will appear before the state senate’s energy committee as part of his confirmation process.  At that hearing, state senators must hold Cuomo accountable for the CES’s runaway costs to taxpayers, get answers regarding the plan’s failures and demand a commitment to reverse or at least confine costs to areas of the state in which the relevant plants are situated.  Additionally, senators can ask on behalf of taxpayers how it’s remotely fair for residents of Long Island to pay for plants like Shoreham located six or more hours away without burden-sharing from the remainder of the state.  It makes no sense in terms of fairness, cost or efficiency.

Less than a year into this boondoggle, the CES plan is already collapsing.  Accordingly, state senators should get to the core of the problem, demand answers and require mitigation of damages.  Because state taxpayers who will pay the price are watching.

March 3rd, 2017 at 1:14 pm
State Senator in N.Y. Post: “Residents Shouldn’t Have to Pay for Cuomo’s Upstate Nuke Bailout”
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Since last summer, we at CFIF have sounded the alarm regarding a crony capitalist “green” energy boondoggle forced upon New York state residents by Governor Andrew Cuomo and a power commission staffed entirely by his appointees.

The plan imposes an artificial mandate that 50% of all New York power be generated by carbon-free plants in just over a decade, and will cost taxpayers and businesses $1 billion in just its first two years of operation, as well as $8 billion over the course of the scheme.  Making matters worse, the subsidies generated will go to a single company named Exelon that owns all three struggling upstate nuclear plants that will benefit.  Obviously, New York consumers and businesses will pay those costs, which has led even left-leaning environmental leaders to oppose the plan.  Governor Cuomo’s scheme is also the subject of a lawsuit in U.S. District Court on the grounds that it violates the Constitution’s interstate commerce clause and its supremacy clause.

In today’s New York Post, state senator Tony Avella, a Democrat, joins the opposition with a blistering piece entitled “City Residents Shouldn’t Have to Pay for Cuomo’s Upstate Nuke Bailout.”  Among other points, Sen. Avella notes the cost to be paid by residents who won’t even benefit:

There’s a new wrinkle in the quest to power New York that will further drive up our already high utility bills.  It’s both unfair and completely avoidable.  Under a new plan announced last year, the state is adding a surcharge to all utility bills – regardless of whether the person uses gas, oil or a renewable resource, which many people are already paying a premium for.  That surcharge, which will also hit businesses and local governments, will bring an estimated $7.6 billion over the next 12 years.

All of the money will go to Exelon, a Chicago-based Fortune 100 company with annual revenues over $34 billion.  All so the company can prop up three aging nuclear power plants.

That’s not a fair deal for New York taxpayers.  And it’s even more one-sided when you consider the fact that the vast majority of New Yorkers aren’t even getting their power from these old nuclear plants.  Customers with Con Edison, which powers parts of New York City and Westchester, alone will pay $700 million.  So we’re basically paying for something we’ll never use.”

Fortunately, he’s not just complaining about it.  He’s doing something about it:

I recently introduced a bill that would require the state’s Public Service Commission, which regulates utilities, to determine what parts of the state are served by the nuclear power plants, and which ones aren’t.  Communities that don’t get their power from the plants, mostly in downstate areas like New York City, wouldn’t have to pay under my bill.  It’s only fair.”

That’s for sure.  Bit by bit, Gov. Cuomo’s boondoggle is unraveling.  For New York consumers and businesses alike, the sooner it is brought to an end, the better they’ll be.

February 10th, 2017 at 2:49 pm
New York: Even the Albany Times Union Excoriates Gov. Cuomo’s Green Energy Subsidy Boondoggle
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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.

The plan is so objectionable that even environmentalists and those on the political left have turned against it, and the Cuomo Administration has already been forced to dramatically scale it back.

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.

December 27th, 2016 at 9:02 am
NY Gov. Cuomo Administration Remains Unable to Defend Energy Boondoggle
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In an op-ed published last week at The Daily Caller, CFIF Sr. Vice President Timothy Lee explains how New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Administration remains unable to defend its crony capitalist Clean Energy Standard (CES) against burgeoning bipartisan public opposition.

According to Mr. Lee:

Conspicuously, Cuomo Administration officials remain unable to defend the plan against burgeoning public opposition.  In a recent local television appearance, Cuomo’s Public Service Commission Chair Audrey Zibelman couldn’t justify the decision to provide billions of dollars in subsidies to upstate plants while simultaneously closing downstate plants, and she stubbornly refused to acknowledge the plan’s high costs.

Nuclear power remains a reliable domestic energy source that the United States can cleanly and safely utilize to a far greater extent.

Governor Cuomo’s crony capitalist CES scheme isn’t the way to go about it.  The growing bipartisan opposition movement is an encouraging sign, one that should confirm for New Yorkers of all political leanings that the plan should be rejected.

Read the entire op-ed here.

December 16th, 2016 at 6:54 pm
Empire Center: Gov. Cuomo’s Green Energy CES Boondoggle Already Beginning to Collapse
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For months now we’ve been exposing an inexcusable, costly, climate alarmist, crony capitalist, green energy boondoggle imposed upon New York state citizens by Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state’s Public Service Commission (PSC) composed entirely of his appointees.

Specifically, the PSC rushed through their “Clean Energy Standard” (CES) last August, which requires that 50% of power generated in the state come from carbon-neutral sources by 2030.  The CES works by forcing power companies to buy “Zero Emission Credits” (ZECs) from a state bureaucracy on behalf of financially struggling upstate nuclear energy plants.  In the first two years of the plan alone, the cost is an estimated $1 billion.  For the entire span of the CES scheme, the estimate is approximately $8 billion.

Crony capitalism enters the stage in the sense that those subsidies will benefit Exelon, a single company that owns all of the struggling plants standing to benefit.  Think of it as a state-level Solyndra, with costs ultimately hitting New York businesses and consumers, as usual.

These are just some of the reasons that citizens and groups spanning the political spectrum have spoken out against the scheme.

But there’s positive news to report.  Confronted with the CES’s inherent contradictions and flaws, the Cuomo Administration is already drastically scaling back the plan, as reported by the Empire Center:

The State Public Service Commission has quietly reduced the amount of renewable energy that utilities will have to purchase next year by 94 percent, according to PSC documents.

In August, as part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Clean Energy Standard, the PSC ordered utilities and others to next year purchase renewable energy credits (RECs) equivalent to 0.6 percent of their electricity usage.  This amounted to a total of 974,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of RECs, which are generated when a renewablee plant such as a solar farm or wind turbine sells power into the electrical grid.  The governor’s ultimate goal is for 50 percent of the state’s electricity to come from renewables by 2030, and 2017 was to be the first year in which the PSC incrementally required these ‘load-serving entities’ to financially support increasing amounts of renewable energy.

But in an ‘Order Providing Clarification’ issued on November 17, the 2017 amount was slashed from 974,000 to 56,142 MWh – a 94 percent reduction – after the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) determined few renewables would actually qualify to issue the credits. Load-serving entities will now have to purchase RECs equating to just 0.035 percent of their total usage.”

And just as the costs of the plan ultimately hit New York consumers and businesses, scaling back the plan’s ambitions benefits those consumers and businesses, as the Empire Center notes:  “For starters, the move will collectively save ratepayers $19.4 million in 2017 as utilities and others aren’t forced to buy as many credits as anticipated.”

The entire boondoggle was transparently destined to fail, but even skeptics didn’t anticipate it would begin collapsing under its own weight this quickly.  But New Yorkers shouldn’t relent until the entire CES is consigned permanently to the policy ash heap.

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October 21st, 2016 at 6:19 pm
Crony Capitalist N.Y. Utility Subsidy Boondoggle Now Facing Federal Lawsuit
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So there’s grave new trouble for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s crony-capitalist, climate alarmist utility subsidy boondoggle:  a federal lawsuit.

Since its introduction in August, CFIF has been exposing Cuomo’s “Clean Energy Standard” (CES), a scheme approved by the state of New York’s Public Service Commission made up entirely of his own appointees.  In a nutshell, the CES creates an artificial mandate that 50% of all the state’s energy be generated by carbon-neutral plants just 13 years from now.   At a minimum, the CES will cost $1 billion in its first two years alone, and an estimated $8 billion over its 13-year existence.  And it illustrates the sort of crony capitalism that is all too common at the federal, state and local levels because the plan’s subsidies will be steered toward a single company named Exelon that owns financially struggling upstate nuclear plants.  We have nothing against Exelon in particular, but everything about this scheme smells fishy.  At the end of the day, moreover, the cost of all of this will fall upon New York residents and businesses.

Additionally, the CES program is so manifestly flawed that opposition is bipartisan.  New York environmental groups also attack what they describe as Governor Cuomo’s “$8 billion bailout of three upstate nuclear power plants.”

And now there’s even more grave trouble for CES.

In U.S. District Court, a lawsuit filed this week by the prominent law firm Boies Schiller seeks injunction against the scheme, alleging violation of the Interstate Commerce Clause and federal preemption under the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, among other counts:

Several power plant owners sued New York state energy regulators Wednesday over the state’s approval of billions of dollars in subsidies for aging nuclear plants.  The suit filed in Manhattan federal court argues the bailout represents an illegal interference with the federal government’s role in regulating electric rates, and will unfairly burden the ratepayers who will pay for the subsidies, which could cost nearly $8 billion over 12 years.  ‘This is a bad deal for New Yorkers, who will see their electric bills go up across the state,’ said Jonathan Schiller, whose firm Boies, Schiller & Flexner is representing the plaintiffs…  ‘This subsidy will cost New Yorkers as much as $7.6 billion in payments to a single company.  This is illegal.'”

We’ll be monitoring and updating this lawsuit as events develop, but it presents another mortal threat to the CES plan.

And justifiably so.  Although we continue to support nuclear power as an energy source that should be exploited by the U.S. on the basis of both efficiency and national security, Governor Cuomo’s crony capitalist boondoggle is simply an unacceptable way to do it.  It’s not by accident that opposition is bipartisan, and now under judicial threat as well.

October 6th, 2016 at 10:58 pm
Environmental Groups Join Bipartisan Opposition to N.Y. Utility Boondoggle
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Bill Clinton made headlines this week when he openly attacked ObamaCare as a “crazy system” that “doesn’t make any sense.”

Something similar is now occurring in New York state.  Specifically, environmental groups and others on the political left are openly maligning the crony capitalist utility boondoggle that CFIF has been exposing since its introduction in August.

The “Clean Energy Standard” (CES), approved by the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) composed entirely of Governor Andrew Cuomo appointees, mandates that 50% of state energy derive from carbon-neutral sources by the year 2030.  And guess what?  The CES’s subsidies, which will cost at least $1 billion in the first two years and an estimated $8 billion over the course of the plan, will benefit financially struggling upstate nuclear energy plants owned by a single company named Exelon.  Ultimately, of course, that excessive and needless cost will be paid by New York consumers and businesses.

But CFIF and fellow conservative and libertarian groups are hardly alone in opposition to the CES.  As highlighted by North Country Public Radio in Canton, New York, environmental groups are openly opposing what it describes as Governor Cuomo’s “$8 billion bailout of three upstate nuclear power plants”:

“Cuomo plans to transition 50 percent of the state’s power to renewable energy by 2030.  Part of the program includes a multi-billion dollar subsidy to Exelon, the company that now runs two upstate nuclear plants, Nine Mile Point in Oswego and Ginna near Rochester, and is hoping to run a third plant, FitzPatrick, also in Oswego.

But some environmental groups, including New York Public Interest Research Group, say ratepayers, who were not consulted about the deal, will be stuck with the bill in the form of increased utility rates.

NYPIRG’s Blair Horner said the deal will result in $2.3 billion in increased payments for residential utility customers and even more for businesses in a state that already has among the highest utility rates in the nation, according to a study by the Public Utility Law Project.  ‘These charges are essentially a tax to keep aging nuclear power plants online,’ Horner said.”

It’s good to see that bipartisan wisdom isn’t completely a thing of the past.

It bears re-emphasis that nuclear power is a safe, clean, reliable domestic energy source that CFIF favors, one that the U.S. should utilize to a far greater extent.  Governor Cuomo’s crony capitalist, global warming alarmist CES scheme, however, is the wrong way to go about that.

New York citizens and businesses shouldn’t have to subsidize this sort of boondoggle, and hopefully the growing bipartisan opposition will force a course correction from Cuomo and the PSC.

September 29th, 2016 at 7:55 pm
Empire Center Report: N.Y. State’s “Clean Energy Standard” Amounts to $3.4 BILLION Tax Hike
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CFIF remains vigilant in sounding the alarm about a costly new crony capitalist “Clean Energy Standard” (CES) boondoggle in New York state, and a new report this week from the Empire Center for Public Policy further exposes the destructively high cost that state citizens and businesses will pay under the plan.

The CES is a global warming alarmist scheme unveiled last month by New York’s Public Service Commission (PSC), whose members were appointed by Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo.  The plan imposes a draconian demand that at least 50% of the state’s energy will come from carbon-neutral plants like solar and wind by just 14 years from today.  The CES plan would compel New York power generators to purchase “Zero Emission Credits” (ZECs) from carbon-neutral generators through a state government bureaucracy, which would in turn be handed to struggling upstate nuclear power plants.

Not only is the plan extremely costly – at least an additional $1 billion in the first two years alone, and an estimated $8 billion over the CES plan’s lifespan – but it amounts to yet another governmental example of crony capitalism because it benefits a single company named Exelon.

Matters only got worse this week for the CES boondoggle when the Empire Center released a report finding that the plan will cost New York consumers $3.4 billion over just the first five years.  As summarized by Empire Center analyst Ken Girardin, existing carbon-neutral plants don’t generate nearly enough power to sustain the scheme, and it will also require costly new infrastructure:

The new standard’s goal for solar power would translate into roughly 200 times the capacity of New York’s largest existing utility-grade solar panel farm, which is at Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island.  It also calls for enough new land-based wind turbines to cover, at a minimum, an area the size of Putnam County.

Most of the added solar and land-based wind-generating capacity would have to be located upstate – but nearly two-thirds of the state’s electricity is consumed downstate, and power lines linking the regions aren’t up to the task.  In fact, the transmission grid already required extensive upgrades before the new mandate was imposed, as Governor Cuomo acknowledged when he pushed during his first term for grid improvements called ‘the Energy Highway.’  But the highway is stalled, and the Clean Energy Standard doesn’t deal with the issue.

Another problem:  solar panels and wind turbines generate power only intermittently, since the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow.  But the new standard also makes no allowance for energy storage or standby generators powered by conventional sources, which would add further to the cost of a big shift to renewables.”

“It’s one of the biggest tax hikes in state history,” Mr. Girardin noted, “and it’s a hidden tax that they will never see on their bills.”

It’s bad enough that the CES constitutes yet another example of unnecessary crony capitalism perpetrated by the climate change-industrial complex.  With the Empire Center exposing just how costly it will be for New York state citizens and businesses, there’s no excuse for failing to stop it before the damage is done.

September 22nd, 2016 at 8:24 pm
N.Y. Public Service Commission Chairwoman Offers Global Warming Rationalization for Taxpayer Subsidy Boondoggle
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How much more in your monthly utility bill would you be happy to pay to combat global warming?  Probably not much, if anything.

Unfortunately, New York state residents are being lectured that they shouldn’t have any choice.

That’s the upshot of a festering crony capitalist utility boondoggle cooked up by state legislators in the name of global warming alarmism, as we at CFIF detailed earlier this month.

By way of refresher, the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) approved a new “Clean Energy Standard” (CES) last month, which requires that carbon-neutral sources account for at least 50% of energy generated in the state by the year 2030.  Making matters worse, CES provisions require power companies to buy Zero Emission Credits (ZECs) from a state government bureaucracy to benefit financially struggling upstate nuclear energy plants.  Those subsidies guarantee $1 billion for the struggling plants in the first two years of the plan alone, with an estimated $8 billion over the full course of the CES plan.

And these subsidies will reportedly benefit a single company named Exelon, which controls the struggling plants.  Think of it as New York’s own little Solyndra boondoggle.

Naturally, the cost of this scheme will fall upon New York residents and businesses, regardless of whether they receive any power from the subsidized nuclear plants upstate.

To their credit, state lawmakers recognized the numerous flaws in the CES plan and spelled them out in a recent letter to PSC Chairwoman Audrey Zibelman, also demanding a more open public accounting.

Chairwoman Zibelman’s response only made matters worse, rationalizing that, “compared to the cost of climate change that we have already experienced in the State, this is a very modest burden”:

Carbon emissions themselves are not geographically bounded.  The CES allocates the obligation to meet the 50 percent renewables goals and zero-emission credits to all of the consumers of the State because all consumers will benefit from reducing carbon emissions…  To suggest that downstate consumers should be less responsible for maintaining the nuclear-zero emissions attributes would undoubtedly require us to apply the same logic to allocate responsibility to reduce the harm caused by fossil-fuel combustion.  Not only would that fly in the face of sound thinking regarding our responsibility to the environment, it would suggest that because most of our fossil fuel emissions are caused by downstate power generation, we would assign a higher responsibility to downstate customers for the CES based upon the local energy mix.  The benefits of addressing climate change are also significant for the downstate, coastal region.”

Then came the best (or worst) part from Chairwoman Zibelman.  Namely, she repeated the debunked claim that global warming causes hurricane activity and that we’d only witness more and more soon.  More informed Americans, however, will recall that after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, we were told that global warming was the cause, and we’d only see more and more Katrinas as a result.  Instead, the U.S. has now gone the longest stretch in history without a major hurricane.

Ooops.

Regardless, the bottom line is that New York’s CES plan is a crony capitalist, global warming alarmist boondoggle.  It can’t be justified on any rationalization, least of all false global warming illogic.

September 15th, 2016 at 10:05 pm
New York’s “Clean Energy” Bailout Scheme
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In an interview with CFIF, Ken Girardin, Communications and Marketing Manager at the Empire Center for Public Policy, discusses New York Governor Cuomo’s so-called Clean Energy Standard, how it will force electricity ratepayers to subsidize money-losing nuclear plants and costly windmills, solar panel farms, and why taxpayers outside of New York should be concerned as well.

Listen to the interview here.

December 30th, 2014 at 4:17 pm
Gruber in 2009: ObamaCare Has No Cost Controls

Hat tip to the Daily Caller for unearthing yet another damning admission from ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber.

At roughly the same time in 2009 when President Barack Obama was telling the American people that passing his version of health care reform would lower costs, Gruber was telling an audience in Syracuse, New York it was all a lie.

“Why are we closer than we’ve ever been before? Because there are no cost controls in these proposals. Because this bill’s about coverage. Which is good! Why should we hold 48 million uninsured people hostage to the fact that we don’t yet know how to control costs in a politically acceptable way? Let’s get the people covered and then let’s do cost control,” Gruber told his listeners.

Thanks for the honesty, Professor Gruber, but it only counts if you say it before the damage is done.

January 24th, 2014 at 3:18 pm
NY’s Schumer Calls on Dems to Defend Government

Talk about a New York state of mind.

In the run-up to the 2014 election, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) “charts an agenda for Congress that includes extending unemployment benefits, raising the minimum wage, making college more affordable and investing in infrastructure,” according to the L.A. Times.

“Times are now ripe for a renewed and robust defense of government,” Schumer said in a speech to the liberal Center for American Progress Action Fund. And he clearly doesn’t fear any potential downside. “The best way to deal with the tea party’s obsessive anti-government mania is to confront it directly, by showing the people the need for government to help them out of their morass.”

Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. The real maniacs in Washington, D.C. are liberals like Schumer who think Americans are eager to be told how government will meddle even more in the economy. Raising the minimum wage in an anemic employment market is a sure way to increase joblessness. But maybe that’s the point. The result is more people directly dependent on government outlays for their daily needs.

And then there is the inflationary effect of government spending on the price of college tuition, as well as the fact that ‘infrastructure investment’ is really code for pork barrel projects channeled to public employee unions.

Schumer’s call for a full-throated defense of government may get cheers in the liberal salons of the NYC-DC corridor, but echoing it would bring swift electoral defeat for his colleagues in more conservative states.

January 23rd, 2014 at 9:02 am
Ramirez Cartoon: Statue of Bigotry
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Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

January 3rd, 2014 at 11:57 am
Ramirez Cartoon: de Blasio’s New York City
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Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

November 29th, 2013 at 5:37 pm
Obamacare Swells New York’s Medicaid Rolls

“Since the Oct. 1 rollout of the Affordable Care Act in New York, nearly half of New Yorkers who signed up for insurance on the state-run exchange qualified for Medicaid,” reports the New York Post.

Apparently, the media attention surrounding Obamacare enticed many lower-income Empire State residents to apply for insurance, only to find out they qualified for taxpayer subsidized Medicaid instead. If every New Yorker that qualifies for Obamacare’s expanded version of Medicaid actually signs up, the state’s total Medicaid population could hit 6 million in a few years. That would be nearly 1/3rd of the state’s population.

The implications for federal spending levels are ominous. Currently, Medicaid spending is split between states and the feds. But once 2014 arrives, “the feds will pick up 75 percent of the tab and eventually 90 percent for childless Medicaid adults, instead of the current 50 percent.”

As the Post’s article indicates, Obamacare’s failure to lure enough buyers onto its public-private insurance exchanges is only half the story. The real win for those who want to impose a government-run, single-payer system onto the American health care system may be in the massive expansion of Medicaid consumers paid for out of the federal treasury. Thus, even if the public-private part of Obamacare fails, the number of citizens depending on Washington for health care will increase dramatically. In the long run, that may be just what Obamacare’s staunchest supporters desire.

August 16th, 2013 at 1:51 pm
ObamaCare’s Voter Registration Ploy Will Spawn Lawsuits

Democratic strongholds like California, Vermont and New York have been quick to use ObamaCare’s state-based insurance exchanges as an excuse to register voters.

State officials are claiming that 1993 National Voter Registration Act (aka the “Motor Voter Act”) requires combining election prospects with health insurance, but the reality is much murkier.

To start, ObamaCare is silent on voter registration. “The health care law spans 974 pages and regulates nearly one-fifth of our economy,” Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA) wrote in a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services, “yet nowhere in the law is voter registration mentioned.”

Then there’s the Motor Voter Act itself.

As written, the law “requires states to offer voter registration at government offices, most commonly departments of motor vehicles,” explains the Detroit Free Press. “With the exchanges, which are in some ways a new kind of government office, some are questioning whether the law applies to them.”

But unlike a state’s motor vehicles department, not all ObamaCare exchanges are standard government agencies. The paper continues, “In some states, the exchange will be a nonprofit; in others it will be part of the state’s health or human services agency. And in many Republican-controlled states, the federal government will operate the exchanges.”

The lack of uniformity is already leading to differing interpretations about whether the Motor Voter Act applies, which in turn is spawning lawsuits.

With this much uncertainty leading to costly court battles, states and their taxpayers would be much better served leaving the question whether Motor Voter applies to ObamaCare for academics to debate.

The alternative is an expensive and unnecessary distraction.

August 13th, 2013 at 1:41 pm
NYC Mayor Bloomberg Dislikes His Own Micromanagement Tactics When Turned Against Him
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New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg apparently doesn’t like it when others employ his own nanny-state tactics against him.  In his remarks yesterday after a federal court ruled the NYPD’s “Stop, Question and Frisk” policy unconstitutional, Bloomberg used some awfully sloppy and ironic language, considering his infamous habit of micromanaging citizens’ Second Amendment rights, their soft drink choices, their salt intake and so on:

“Let’s be clear.  People have a right to walk down the street without being targeted by police.  And we have a duty to uphold that right, which is why I’ve signed a law banning racial profiling, and it’s why the NYPD has intensified its training around Stop-Question-Frisk.

But people also have a right to walk down the street without being killed or mugged.  And for those rights to be protected, we have to give the members of our Police Department the tools they need to do their jobs without being micromanaged and second-guessed every day by a judge or a monitor.”

I certainly agree with Bloomberg that yesterday’s decision was incorrect, unwise and not supported by the applicable law or facts.  That said, it would be nice if he would practice what he suddenly preaches.  Hopefully, this moment will serve as a corrective for his own micromanagement inclination while the court decision itself heads down the road toward reversal.

July 26th, 2013 at 12:59 pm
What If Spitzer Becomes NYC’s Comptroller?

Michael Warren of The Weekly Standard has some analysis of a big name running for a little known office that should gets lots of attention.

In the piece, Warren explains how Eliot Spitzer – disgraced former New York Governor and current candidate to become New York City’s Comptroller – would use the powers of the obscure financial office to foist a liberal political agenda onto corporations.

The key to the scheme is the $140 billion worth of public employee pension funds that Spitzer would be in charge of administering. If elected, Spitzer plans to use the money invested in private companies as leverage to demand corporate policy changes in-line with his political agenda.

Of course, that’s not what the job of the NYC Comptroller is designed to do.

“As Yale law professor Jonathan Macey says, the comptroller’s top duty is to get a good return on the city’s investment of its pension funds. ‘It’s a public trust,'” Macey tells Warren. “‘His fiduciary responsibility is to maximize the returns of the beneficiaries.'”

“But what Spitzer is proposing instead—in interviews, in articles, and in his new book, Protecting Capitalism Case by Case—is to use the power of public-employee pension funds to influence corporate policies. Ostensibly, he’d do that for the sake of the public good. What’s more likely to happen is that Spitzer will use the city’s power as shareholder to extract concessions from corporate America that further a populist liberal agenda.” (Emphasis added)

Along with Troy’s excellent column this week, this is yet another reason for New York voters to reject Eliot Spitzer’s political comeback bid.

June 13th, 2013 at 7:01 pm
Pro-Texas Ad Campaign in Anti-Business Blue States

Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry is once again visiting Democratic strongholds in an attempt to lure businesses to relocate to the Lone Star State.

Perry is set to meet with business groups in New York and Connecticut, reports National Public Radio. Previously, Perry extolled his state’s low-tax, light-regulation approach in California and Illinois.

But Perry’s initiative is more than just a series of speeches and photo-ops. His moves are coordinated with the work of TexasOne, a coalition of chambers of commerce and corporations funding a $1 million advertising campaign in the targeted states.

YouTube ads like “Texas is Calling” tout the state’s nine consecutive years ranked #1 for business, hosting the world’s largest medical center and welcoming 1,400 new residents a day.

With states like California, Illinois, New York and Connecticut ranking near the bottom in business-friendly taxes and regulations, it’s no wonder Perry sees an opportunity to let wealth creators in those states know there is an alternative.