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Is Gov. Cuomo’s Waste of Taxpayer Money Good Policy

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

A quick thought experiment: Take a dollar out of your pocket, and light it on fire. Are you sad? Are you mad? Are you just confused? What if I tell you to pull another dollar out of your pocket and suggest lighting that one on fire? Do you do it? I hope not, but that is what Governor Cuomo’s Public Service Commission asked the people of New York to do recently.

That is bad, but what is worse is that up until now there has been little to no push back – including from members on the right that have no excuse like party loyalty holding them back. As this issue continues to grow in its un-popularity, hopefully this innaction will soon start changing.

Last month energy producers in New York started paying for a Zero Emission Credit (ZEC) that will support one company that owns a few nuclear power plants in New York – and a few other states. This $1 billion tax, in the first two years alone, is bad, but what makes it absolutely confounding to understand is that money won’t help achieve the goal of the PSC – not even by 1 percentage point.

The Commission was tasked with developing a renewable energy plan. They did that, deciding that New York should use 50% of electricity from renewable sources by 2030. That is a great goal, well, it is a great goal if it didn’t cost any money. However, it will cost money and energy price hikes effect the economy regressively because everyone, regardless of income, uses energy. Furthermore, renewable sources of energy are still relatively expensive because of their inefficiencies compared to coal, natural gas, or Nuclear Power (which isn’t renewable). That means that to reach 50 percent by 2030 investments would need to be made into R&D, infrastructure would need to be built, and investments in start-ups might even need to be made.

But instead of raising money for the things that would get the PSC’s plan closer to their goal, they proposed a tax that wouldn’t help at all. They proposed a tax that merely will make the people of New York poorer and all because of a back-room deal done with little attention and no chance for anyone to voice their opinion.

Fortunately, there is a currently a bill in Albany that calls for a one year moratorium on this secret tax. A delay would give us the time to give this tax the attention it deserves. Let's first find out who is going to get hurt and why New Yorkers would pay hundreds of millions of dollars to bailout upstate nuclear power plants instead of implementing the tax, paying for it, and then looking for those that it hurt – while the people that benefit from the tax ride around on their yachts.

Hopefully a few of the Long Island Senators will get on board and help us slow down this crony back-room tax, and this much needed push back might have started. Sen. Elaine Phillips and Sen. Marcellino both sent letters to Governor Cuomo outlining their opposition. But, there is still a long way to go. Every Senator should stand opposed to Governor Cuomo and his public service commission on this tax, and Republicans like Kemp Hannon, John Flanagan and John LaValle, should be on the offense. They should join their colleagues Sen. Phillips and Sen. Marcellino and help stop this nuclear power plan bailout that hurts their constituents.

If everything in Long Island was well funded then maybe a nuclear plant owned by an out of state company would make sense to support, but in the meantime Long Islander’s should be protected from this tax before, not after, they are asked to pull another dollar bill out of their pockets to light on fire.

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