Harrisburg, Pa., January 23, 2024 — Today, the Commonwealth Foundation launched a new ad campaign holding Gov. Josh Shapiro accountable for his broken promise on the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The 30-second digital ad, “Tell Gov. Shapiro NO New Energy Taxes,” criticizes the Shapiro administration’s decision to go behind the legislature’s back and seek unilateral authority to impose a 30 percent tax on energy.
During his gubernatorial campaign, then-candidate Shapiro promised voters he would work with the state legislature to find an alternative to rising energy costs. But following the Commonwealth Court’s ruling that RGGI violated the state constitution and levied an “illegal tax,” Shapiro appealedthe court’s ruling, electing to move forward with RGGI without legislative approval.
The new ad targets that decision and highlights Pennsylvanians need energy relief, not new taxes. If enacted, RGGI would strip nearly $800 millionfrom the private sector and raise energy costs for businesses and homeowners. It would increase electric bills an estimated $2 billion over nine years—about $43 per household annually. Moreover, RGGI would kill approximately 22,000 Pennsylvania-based energy industry jobs and lead to $7.7 billion in economic losses.
Over seven in ten Pennsylvanians (71 percent) oppose RGGI after learning the initiative would allow the governor to implement new taxes without legislative approval, according to the Commonwealth Foundation’s latest Common Ground in the Commonwealth survey.
“Governor Shapiro’s broken promise on RGGI is a clear betrayal of the trust that Pennsylvanians placed in him,” said Erik Telford, the senior vice president of Public Affairs at the Commonwealth Foundation. “Families are already grappling with a cost-of-living crisis. They shouldn’t have to decide between heating their homes and putting food on the table. The last thing they need is a 30% increase on their home electricity bill imposed by executive fiat and without a vote by their elected representatives in the legislature.”
The new ad continues the Commonwealth Foundation’s “Shapiro Promises” initiative—an effort to urge the governor to deliver on his campaign promises. ShapiroPromises.com informs the public about the governor’s unfulfilled campaign priorities and empowers citizens to hold him accountable by directly contacting his office.
Telford continued: “Governor Shapiro made a promise, and Pennsylvanians expect him to keep it. He should drop his appeal of RGGI—an unconstitutional, illegal tax—and follow through on his commitment to work with the legislature on policies that protect families and jobs.”
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