shapiro carbon tax

Governor Shapiro’s Disastrous Carbon Tax Hurts Families, Breaks Promises

Harrisburg, Pa., March 13, 2024 — Today, Gov. Josh Shapiro announced plans for an economy-wide “cap-and-invest” carbon pricing program, the Pennsylvania Climate Emissions Reduction Act (PACER)—a massive new tax that would substantially raise costs for Pennsylvania businesses and households. The proposal would set strict limits on greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors and establish a cap-and-trade system, adding new financial burdens to Pennsylvanians already struggling with high inflation, elevated energy costs, and a sluggish economy.

Shapiro also introduced the so-called Pennsylvania Reliable Energy Sustainability Standard (PRESS)—a proposal to impose a big-government, central-planning initiative that picks energy winners and losers. Rather than adopting an all-of-the-above source-neutral approach that prioritizes reliability and cost, Shapiro’s PRESS and PACER schemes work together in favor of his renewable energy and environmentalist donors rather than provide what Pennsylvanians want: reliable and affordable energy.

Commonwealth Foundation Senior Manager of Energy Policy André Béliveau issued the following statement in response:

“With these disastrous new PACER and PRESS programs, Governor Shapiro is piling on even more financial pain for working Pennsylvanians at a time when they can least afford it. Shapiro is actively breaking his campaign promises to avoid tax increases by saddling the state with strict new emissions limits that will inevitably raise consumer costs and have a chilling effect on our natural gas industry, which is leading in reducing carbon emissions.

“The governor is already attempting to unilaterally impose the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative [RGGI]—a program that would strip nearly $800 million from the private sector while raising electric bills by as much as 30 percent for households and businesses. Now, Shapiro wants to double down with an economy-wide carbon tax that will drive up costs on everything from groceries to gasoline.

“It’s a one-two punch of higher taxes that working families can ill afford as they struggle with battering inflation and soaring prices at the pump. Shapiro appears hellbent on making energy more expensive to appease his radical environmentalist base and pay homage to his progressive campaign donors instead of looking out for the best interests of taxpayers.

“Shapiro wants to turn Pennsylvania into the next California. He’s implementing the same economically destructive climate policies that have crippled the Golden State and caused gas at the pump to become practically a luxury good. His decision is economically backward for our commonwealth—and it’s a mistake we can’t afford.

“Recent data from the Independent Fiscal Office shows Pennsylvania has successfully reduced its carbon emissions over the past decade while increasing energy production. We can do both. But the governor’s new tax scheme threatens to undermine that progress and reverse that positive trend by punishing the industries delivering the emissions reductions he claims to desire. Does Shapiro care more about jobs and the environment or about delivering the goods to his green-energy donors?

“Instead of imposing onerous new taxes that drive up costs, kill jobs, and empower bureaucrats, Shapiro should ditch this terrible idea and go back to the drawing board. It’s time he stops kowtowing to the Left and starts keeping his promises to hardworking Pennsylvanians.”


The Commonwealth Foundation turns free-market ideas into public policies, fostering prosperity for all Pennsylvanians.