I am writing to you in my capacity as Vice President of State Affairs for National Taxpayers Union (NTU) and am respectfully requesting that you reject companion bills HB 3995 and SB 1938, which would severely undermine Texas’ electrical energy infrastructure and ultimately lead to higher rates passed on to taxpayers of your state.
It is bothersome for me to write this to you, as someone who, in my 16 years of service as a state legislator in Wisconsin, admired legislative members in Texas, watching in envy as your ability to pursue and enact responsible tax and fiscal policy was accomplished with great ease.
Texas has long been a state in which lawmakers have placed the well-being of taxpayers before reckless spending and ill-intentioned special interest groups. Your state has been a leader in standing firm against ulterior motives that have zero regard for the damage caused by careless tax policy and burdensome regulation. Your determination to combat these groups was laudable from afar, as my home state of Wisconsin wasn’t always successful in pushing back against similar efforts.
This is why I was stunned to learn that you are considering legislation that flies in the face of the fiscally prudent principles that you have fought so hard to defend and uphold. No lawmaker should support regulatory policy that allows the state government to choose winners and losers, especially when considering the prior discipline that Texas has consistently exercised in the past.
The policies outlined in these bills will unquestionably hinder competition by creating layers of permitting requirements for new companies entering the market. The language contained in the legislation speaks for itself – the bills are laced with words like “must,” “shall,” “must approve,” and requires a newly comprised utility company to meet nebulous standards of “public convenience and necessity.” The language inflicts a “government knows best” philosophy. This reminds me of the days when Wisconsin had Certificate of Need laws for new hospitals – laws now off the books, thanks to stalwart free-market lawmakers.
As a conservative and proponent of eliminating onerous regulation that stifles innovation, I have always embraced competition as a way of enriching a market, with the end goal of creating savings to individuals, spurring the growth of jobs, and ultimately creating prosperity. Texas has been an inspiration in this regard. These proposals are a step backwards from the electricity deregulatory strides Texas has made since 2002 – strides many other states can only hope to emulate. I strongly urge you to oppose HB 3995 and SB 1938.