Annapolis, MD – Jan. 31st  Maryland had a well- intentioned, but fatally flawed, rain tax. We fixed it. Now the same legislators who created the rain tax have passed well- intentioned, but fatally flawed, sun and wind taxes. We need to fix them, and upholding Governor Hogan’s veto of HB 1106 is a good first step.

Some say this bill is intended to encourage energy suppliers to use Maryland renewable energy, and to promote green jobs in Maryland. Unfortunately, as we all know, the road to hell is paved with good intentions; and before we go down their sun and wind tax path any further, we need to recognize that what this bill’s proponents say it accomplishes, and what it actually does, are two very different things.

Maryland’s energy suppliers can’t buy enough renewable energy in Maryland to meet these standards. Unfortunately, there simply aren’t enough sources of renewable energy available here, and there’s nothing in the bill to encourage its production, either. Consequently, power suppliers have no choice but to sell us energy from non-renewable sources to meet Maryland’s energy needs, because they cannot sell us what does not exist. Under this bill, they are required to buy REC’s—renewable energy credits- for simply selling us the power we need. In 2015 alone, power suppliers spent $126 million on RECs, and it is anticipated that they will spend another $200 million by 2020 to comply with this legislation. It goes without saying that the cost of these RECs is passed along to Maryland rate payers. They are clearly an unfair tax on ratepayers for not using wind, solar, and other renewable energy sources that are unavailable in the amounts required by the bill.

Most of the RECs power suppliers purchase to meet renewable energy standards come from out of state, since, again, Maryland doesn’t produce adequate amounts of renewable energy. This simply adds insult to injury. It’s ridiculous to pay a tax that does little to encourage the production of renewable energy in Maryland; but it’s insane to send the tax revenue to another state, where it actually is used to create green jobs and produce renewable energy. That’s exactly what this bill does. Ironically, it does for other states what it is supposed to do for Maryland, only we pay their bill.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions, but the devil is in the details. We’ve spent hundreds of millions of dollars to encourage the growth of renewable energy in Maryland and have little to show for it. It’s time to say goodbye to the mindset that simply throwing taxpayer or ratepayer money at a problem is an appropriate measure of caring or concern. What Maryland desperately needs is caring coupled with competence, caring coupled with common sense, and caring coupled with policies that are cost effective, produce jobs in Maryland, and work. Governor Hogan’s environmental agenda fits this description, and I urge you to support his veto of a bill that does not.