We all want clean air but does that justify the creation of a government-ordained monopoly, the transformation of Questar into a virtual government enterprise fund and the undermining of Utah’s highly successful truth-in-taxation system?
Apparently, it does, according to the Utah State legislators and Governor Herbert. After they passed and he signed SB275 (“Energy Amendments”).
The legislation gives Questar (“a gas corporation”) a virtual monopoly on CNG (natural gas) stations and infrastructure. Rather than allow free enterprise and businesses (small and large) to enter the market and ensure competition, the legislation will strangle the market and provide significant advantage for what will amount to a state enterprise fund (Questar).
Instead of using a competitive process for infrastructure and allowing gas stations to meet CNG demands, the legislature and Gov. Herbert support severely restricting entry in the market. All this amounts to is a juicy shade of big government intervention and crony capitalism.
As a “double whammy”, the legislation allows all layers of government to force Questar to increase gas rates (“in the public interest”, of course) in order to help with the conversion of government fleets to natural gas.
As is well documented, Utah cities with a municipal power company, an enterprise fund, are already notorious for manipulating rates (overcharging) and transferring the excess into their general funds. They then turn around and speciously tout low property taxes (without factoring in the rate manipulation).
With the enactment of SB275, the barn door has been thrown wide open for not only cities but also for counties, special districts, and the quasi-private Utah Transit Authority (UTA) to pass their costs on to us through our Questar home heating bills. This action will also surreptitiously help bail-out a financially foundering Utah Transit Authority.
The result is an end run around truth-in-taxation requirements and higher home heating rates as governments push more and more of their costs onto Questar customers and never ending government runs to the Questar bank (while claiming your taxes are low) ... with the added bonus of a constriction of market entry and competition.