Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Dear Tea Party: Tax Increases You See On Your 1040 Are Not The Whole Story

A bill recently introduced by Rep. John Klenke, R-Green Bay, is scheduled to go before the Assembly Energy and Utilities Committee today.  The Appleton Post-Crescent reports that the bill will serve to reduce the electricity rates paid by new corporations that relocate into the state, while shifting utility costs to residential and small business users.
Last year, the state Public Service Commission allowed Wisconsin Power and Light, a subsidiary of Alliant Energy, to implement similar rate discounts for industrial customers. The Wisconsin Citizens Utility Board sued, but the case was rejected because affected customers had yet to see their rates increase. 
The bill would prevent future lawsuits and gives the commission the green light to approve more rate discounts
The PSC is required to review and approve any rate decrease along the guidelines that it must promote economic development.
Those are ambiguous standards, said state Rep. Brett Hulsey, D-Madison, a member of the Energy and Utilities Committee.
"Whatever big business wants, big business gets (from Republicans)," Hulsey said. "The rest of us are going to pay higher utility rates, and they don't necessarily create new jobs." 
The devil will be in the details of the rules governing how the PSC gets to pick and chose among the businesses that get favorable rates at the expense of homeowners and small businesses.  If the standard being applied by Walker appointees to the Public Service Commission is very loose, as Representative Hulsey suggests is the current case, then look for corporate money to flow into the campaign coffers of the Republicans like electrons flowing through transmission lines.  And if there are any suggestions of shenanigans?  Well, according to the Post-Crescent the current bill proposes that lawsuits challenging the PSC decisions are barred.  Nice tight package.

What's next?  Gas tax rebates to trucking firms if they shift terminals to Wisconsin?

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