HARRISBURG – Not surprising anyone, Gov. Tom Wolf today vetoed a resolution that would have prevented him from unilaterally forcing Pennsylvania to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), which will ultimately impose a carbon tax on state electricity producers.
“I am disappointed but not surprised,” said Sen. Joe Pittman, R-41, who has been fighting for every consumer of electricity in Pennsylvania who is afraid of being able to make ends meet and pay their bills.
The RGGI coalition operates what is called a CO2 “cap-and-trade” program, though the cost of the “emission allowances” traded within the program is, effectively, a tax on CO2 emissions by electricity producers.
“This fight is far from over,” Sen. Pittman continued, noting the RGGI regulation cannot take effect until the veto override process has been exhausted. “I look forward to a veto override vote, which will show which Senators truly stand with working families.”
Senator Pittman and his Republican colleagues have stressed the carbon tax would both violate the state Constitution, which grants exclusive power to the legislative branch to levy taxes, and result in the closure of Pennsylvania’s coal-fired power plants, the loss of family-sustaining jobs and negative impacts on the state’s economy. Not only will the regulation negatively affect coal plants, but it will also make Pennsylvania’s existing natural gas electricity-producing plants less competitive and deter such plants from being built within the commonwealth in the future.
“We will continue to explore all legislative and legal options to avoid allowing a lame duck governor from making such a unilateral and illegal action by imposing a tax without our consent,” said Sen. Pittman.
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