Ritter’s phantom carbon tax is all the rage these days. If you haven’t heard about it yet, you must be sitting at the socially awkward table in the school cafeteria. Let me fill you in. Governor Ritter’s hallucinations are frequently referred to as the “New Energy Economy,” and it has all bells and whistles of a four-star fantasy land. Unicorns, costless government programs, cars that run on fairy dust, hot lady genies granting unlimited amounts of wishes, winning Bronco football with an ageless John Elway at the helm, and federally mandated carbon taxes via “cap and trade.” Oh yes, this is the fantasy world of lame duck governors.
With the help of the lapdog PUC, this carbon tax goes from fantasy land to the real world via Xcel’s rising energy costs. Over the last three years, we’ve been paying an inflated price for energy based on the assumption that cap and trade would pass. So far, no cap and tax legislation has passed. And as it stands now, with sweeping GOP victories this past election and a GOP majority in the House, a cap and trade induced carbon tax looks doomed for quite awhile. Yet in Ritter’s greenest delusions, carbon taxes are here and thriving – with pride parades down main street to boot.
You might be wondering, why no naughty nurses or kick ass machine guns in this fantasy (or better yet, naughty nurses WITH kick ass machine guns). Well, that’s because by imagining that we have a carbon tax and allowing Xcel to charge higher rates because of it, “green” energy suddenly becomes more affordable relative to coal – an obviously evil energy. In other words, without this imagined tax, energy derived from fossil fuels are much much cheaper than alternative, renewable energy. But with the right amount of imagination, it doesn’t have to be!
It’s high time we rid ourselves of this baseless energy tax. Even Vincent Carroll at the Denver Post agrees in his op-ed, “Retire the stealth tax on carbon.” Amy Oliver and William Yeatman of our emerging Energy Policy Center have written tons on this issue, and should be applauded for making the public aware of this thief in the night. Keep checking back on the Energy Policy webpage for the latest on energy policies that affect your wallet.