Norquist: Voters Should Reject Left-Wing Efforts To Hike Energy Subsidies For Billionaires


Grover Norquist President, Americans for Tax Reform
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Voters should not be fooled by the so-called renewable energy initiatives being pushed by California billionaire Tom Steyer.

Steyer, who made a fortune founding and managing Farallon Capital, a hedge fund that for decades invested in fossil fuels, disguised himself as a full-blown climate advocate after being shamed by liberal activists over his investment portfolio. Now, Steyer’s NextGen Climate Action super PAC is pouring money into state ballot measures in hopes of compelling voters to support his current “green energy” venture.

Steyer’s ballot measures would force residents of Arizona and Nevada to get 50 percent of their electricity from solar and wind by 2030. There are several reasons to oppose these measures.

First and foremost, Arizona’s Prop 127 and Nevada’s Question 6 would raise energy costs, having the same effect as a regressive tax hike on Arizona and Nevada households. This should be a major point of concern for all voters in both states.

In order to comply with these mandates, electricity companies would be forced to spend tons of money. These billions of dollars in added costs would ultimately be passed onto families and businesses in the form of higher prices. A closer look at research on Prop 127 sheds some light on just how much economic devastation would come from Steyer’s misguided energy policies.

Economists at Arizona State University’s Seidman Research Institute estimate that Prop 127 would force the average household serviced by APS — Arizona’s largest electric utility, Arizona Public Service Company (APS) — to spend $1,900 in new electricity costs each year. This breaks down to more than $150 per month. Buttressing this claim, residents of California, which adopted the same energy mandate in 2015, faced charges of 20 cents per kilowatt-hour, or around $2,000 a year.

Making matters worse, research on Prop 127 shows that the harm it would inflict upon the Grand Canyon State economy goes far beyond inflated utility bills. Economists also found that in addition to doubling the cost of monthly bills, Prop 127 would cost Arizona thousands of jobs as well as $72.5 billion in GDP by 2060.

Adding insult to injury, NERA Economic Consulting’s — a “a global firm of experts dedicated to applying economic, finance, and quantitative principles to complex business and legal challenges” — study on Prop 127 finds, in short, that all of the associated economic devastation would basically be for nothing.

The study concluded that Prop 127’s mandates would have no apparent impact on public health or air quality. Ironically, Prop 127 would likely increase carbon emissions in Arizona because it would force the Palo Verde nuclear plant to close due to the measure’s exclusion of nuclear and other known carbon free energy, such as hydropower, from counting toward the 50 percent mandate.

The energy mandates would have a minimal, if any, environmental impact, but would certainly inflict a great deal of economic harm on Arizona and Nevada, creating financial hardships for the hardworking people.

Hopefully, voters see these amendments for what they really are: Massive subsidies for out-of-state millionaires that invest in solar and wind power.

Grover Norquist is president and founder of Americans for Tax Reform, a nonprofit taxpayer advocacy organization founded at the request of President Ronald Reagan.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.