– Rep. Ryan Warner (R-Fayette/Westmoreland) joined a majority in the state House Wednesday in voting to reject Gov. Tom Wolf’s efforts to enroll the Commonwealth in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).
RGGI is a cooperative effort among several northeastern states that places caps on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by energy producers and requires those producers to purchase allowances to continue operating.
While acknowledging how RGGI would cost the state thousands of good, family-sustaining jobs and how it will increase energy prices on families already struggling with inflation and a lagging economy, Warner also cited it as yet another example of executive overreach by Gov. Tom Wolf.
“Once again, we have one man making authoritarian decisions, bypassing the legislative process,
alienating the voices of 13 million Pennsylvanians and implementing a tax without the consent of the governed,” Warner said. “It is crushing to the principals of this republic and crushing to the principals of democracy.”
Warner pointed to the fact that every other state joining RGGI had done so by passing legislation through the House and Senate and having it signed into law by the governor, a method Pennsylvania should also be following based on the process outlined in the state Constitution that prohibits any entity of state government outside the House of Representatives from initiating a tax or other revenue-generating measure.
“In this Commonwealth, laws are not created by bureaucrats in state departments. Laws are not created by courts. Laws are not created by governors,” he said during House debate. “In this land, laws are created by the democratically elected representatives of the people. That’s how our form of government works. Implementing a tax without the approval of this House, without the approval of this Senate and without the approval of the people is nothing short of a direct attack on democracy.
“This country was literally founded on fighting against taxation without representation,” he continued. “We revolted and fought a war against the most powerful empire in the world. We created a Constitution and a brand new form of government because we were being taxed without our consent.”
Senate Concurrent Regulatory Review Resolution 1 passed the House 130-70. The measure now goes to the governor’s desk.
To view Warner’s entire remarks during debate in the House chamber, watch the video below.