More Taxes = Less Jobs

Member Group : Guest Articles

COMMON SENSE says that if you impose a massive tax on a product, that
product will be more expensive. And if that product is essential to a
particular sector of our economy, then we will witness job losses in that
sector. In fact, if I told you that taxing a particular industry would
create jobs in that industry, you would probably laugh out loud.

But that is exactly the argument my opponent, Congressman Joe Sestak, tried
to make recently in a commentary on these pages.

Last spring, Congressman Sestak co-sponsored and voted for a cap-and-trade
bill that would impose a massive tax on energy. If you put a massive tax on
energy, all forms of energy – from electricity, to gasoline, to natural gas
– become more expensive._ That means families have higher electricity bills,
it costs more to fill up at the pump, and businesses, especially energy
intensive industries, will have to deal with skyrocketing costs. _The
inevitable result will be fewer jobs, and the industrial base in
Northeastern Pennsylvania would be especially hard hit._

This is a non-controversial concept. And a host of independent studies and
bipartisan elected officials across Pennsylvania understand it – but not
Congressman Sestak.

According to a National Association of Manufacturers’ study, Sestak’s
cap-and trade energy tax would cost Pennsylvania more than 70,000 jobs in
the years ahead._ In just six years, it would increase gas prices by 6 to 8
percent, oil prices by 6 to 12 percent and natural gas prices by 14 to 21
percent. Over time, this surge would accelerate.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission echoed these findings, writing
in a letter to the Pennsylvania congressional delegation that a
cap-and-trade bill would result in a net loss of 66,000 Pennsylvania jobs
and a sizable hike in residential electric bills._

President Obama admitted as much in a March interview, saying, "Under my
plan … electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket."_ The Obama
administration also admitted that the energy tax would cost families $1,761
per year.

Sestak’s energy tax will hurt Pennsylvania’s coal, natural gas and
manufacturing industries especially hard._ Pennsylvania is the
fourth-largest coal-producing state in the country and coal plays a major
part in the commonwealth’s economy and electricity production. Coal accounts
for more than half of all electricity produced in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania is also home to the Marcellus Shale, one of the largest
unconventional natural gas reserves in the world. It has the potential to
turn our state into a major producer of clean energy and create thousands of
jobs. But the new energy tax could doom this budding industry before it has
a chance to develop._

The cap-and-trade proposal is so harmful to Pennsylvania it has garnered
bipartisan opposition across the state._ When the U.S. House of
Representatives voted on Sestak’s cap-and-trade bill last June, one third of
Pennsylvania Democratic congressmen joined all Pennsylvania Republicans in
voting against it. In all, 44 House Democrats across the country opposed the
bill in a truly bipartisan effort to stop this massive job-killer.

That bipartisan group does not include Congressman Joe Sestak_, who not
only voted for the bill, he even expressed regret that it did not go far
enough. But that is typical of Congressman Sestak’s extremely liberal

We can and must support common-sense policies that protect our
environment_; but that goal can be achieved without abandoning 70,000 or more
Pennsylvania jobs and imposing higher gas and electricity prices on all

A focus on renewable energy, conservation, low-carbon energy such as
natural gas, nuclear energy and cleaner-coal technology are all part of the
solution._ But as unemployment hovers above 9 percent, protecting our
hardworking families must be our first priority.

Pat Toomey is the Republican nominee in Pennsylvania for the U.S. Senate._