To the Editor: Once again, Gov. Sununu steps up to protect seniors on fixed incomes and those living paycheck to paycheck by vetoing a bill that would increase electricity costs.
SB 205 would increase the price of electricity by raising the System Benefits Charge (SBC) over the next six years. But more importantly, the bill would allow these defacto tax increases to avoid legislative scrutiny. Only the Legislature can impose charges and taxes on our citizenry.
This bill gives authority to the Public Utilities Commission to establish and approve increases to the SBC without approval by the General court, whose involvement was legislatively guaranteed just last year. This authority amounts to an expansion of the role of bureaucrats and administrators in the setting of charges and taxes. According to the New Hampshire constitution, only representatives elected by the people have this authority.
While the state’s 10-year energy strategy endorses the need for greater efficiency in our citizens’ use of energy, the Legislature is the proper body to set and control the rate at which the populace is charged to effect such improvements. Additionally, New Hampshire spends nearly $12 million each year on electricity for government operations, which is a sum legislators are tasked to control, not un-elected bureaucrats.
People’s votes need to matter, especially on the subject of taxes. Keeping the Legislature, not the bureaucracy, in charge of taking money out of everyone’s pocket is reason enough for sustaining the governor’s veto of SB 205.