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Pennsylvania governor tramples legislators to impose carbon taxes

by Kevin Mooney

Pennsylvania state lawmakers in both parties have a message for Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, and it goes something like this: No taxation without representation!

That message came through loud and clear in September when the General Assembly passed legislation that would prohibit the governor from joining a multi-state climate change agreement without legislative approval. The Senate vote was just one vote shy of a veto-proof majority with five Democrats joining with Republicans to support the bill. On the House side, seven Democrats served as co-sponsors of the bill, which passed by a wide margin in July.

Wolf, taking inspiration from King George III, nevertheless has decided to bypass the General Assembly with a regulatory package that ignores scientific findings and economic realities. Earlier this month, he vetoed the legislation that would have enabled the people’s elected representatives to exercise a straight up or down vote on the merits of carbon taxes. In his veto message, Wolf said the legislation prohibiting unilateral executive actions is “extremely dangerous to public health and welfare.” Why would that be?

There is a “global climate crisis.” That’s what Wolf says in his public statement explaining his veto. Not only that, but the governor finds Pennsylvania is already experiencing “adverse impacts from climate change.” He cites “higher temperatures” and “frequent extreme weather events” as examples of adverse impacts. Therefore, Wolf is calling for drastic action in the form of anti-industry regulations that, from his point of view, cannot take a back seat to constitutional government.