Conservatively Speaking

State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.

Global warming legislation has too many red flags

Legislation, Taxes

The Wisconsin Legislative Council provided a briefing Wednesday about global warming legislation to the Senate Select Committee on Clean Energy that I serve and  the Assembly Special Committee on Clean Energy Jobs.

My role as a member of the Senate Select Committee is to analyze the complex legislation, gather information, ask questions, and consider the cost and benefits to determine whether the legislation is beneficial to my constituents and to the state of Wisconsin.

Several components of the legislation are troubling.

“Fees and assessments” will fund programs. You and I know those are code words for taxes.

There will be a new standard for the percentage of electricity sales that must be from renewable sources. The current standard for electricity sales from 2010 to 2014 is six percent must be from renewable sources and10 percent for 2015 and thereafter. Under the proposed global warming bill,
Wisconsin will be required to produce 25% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025. The result will be much higher utility bills since electricity from renewable sources is costlier to produce.

Economists from Suffolk University analyzed the new standard for the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute (WPRI). They determined the total net costs of the 25 percent renewable mandate would exceed $16 billion through 2025.

Why Wisconsin would attempt to emulate California is beyond me. The legislation would apply California vehicle emissions standards. Whenever California adjusts standards, Wisconsin will have to follow suit. New vehicles will have to meet California standards meaning they will be more expensive. The WPRI reports, “Mandating California emission standards would increase the cost of each new car sold in Wisconsin by $968, for an annual economic hit of $353 million to Wisconsin consumers.”

California bureaucrats essentially would be handed the power to decide what kind of vehicles we could and could not drive in Wisconsin.

The legislation would prohibit freight truck drivers after January 1, 2011 from idling their engines for more than five minutes during any 60-minute period that the temperature is above 10 degrees Fahrenheit and below 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Prisoners in Wisconsin are treated kinder than truckers earning an honest living.

A model parking ordinance would be adopted meaning certain vehicles would be given priority parking spaces.

New efficiency requirements for consumer electronics will result in more expensive TVs, DVDs and iPods.

A Low Carbon Fuel Standard will cause the price at the pump to increase.

The Department of Natural Resources will be given greater authority to create new government programs, rules and regulations.

This massive bill refers to costs and benefits. However, at Wednesday’s briefing, I asked Legislative Council attorneys whether the legislation specifically and clearly defines the meaning of costs and benefits. The legislation does not.

The WPRI reports, “The policies (of the legislation) would cause the state to shed 43,093 private-sector jobs. Annual wages would drop $1.6 billion, with disposable income falling by $1,012 per capita.”

This legislation grants the Wisconsin Public Service Commission a blank check, increases taxes, over-regulates, and costs Wisconsin jobs and businesses during a recession.

You can see the Wednesday power point presentation here. 

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