Tuesday, December 28, 2021

this is egregious even for the GOP

Robert -- We often bring you news from larger states undergoing redistricting like Texas and Georgia. But today we thought you should see this headline from Tennessee:
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Robert -- We often bring you news from larger states undergoing redistricting like Texas and Georgia. But today we thought you should see this headline from Tennessee:

 
The Tennessean:
"House redistricting to eliminate five Democratic incumbents in urban Tennessee"

FIVE DEMOCRATIC INCUMBENTS in the Tennessee House. The article continues: "The plan... would further solidify the Republican supermajority in the General Assembly and diminish Democratic influence."

Appalling? Yes. And it's a good reminder that what happens in every state matters -- not just for the state's residents, but also on the national level.

Because remember –- states are drawing both state legislative and congressional lines right now. As Vox put it:

"A seat in Tennessee here, seats in Ohio and Missouri there... There are more possibilities, and they add up. Draw lines on the map that flip enough Democratic districts to safe GOP ones (just five on net), and Democrats' slim majority will likely be gone. If that happens, much of the battle for control of the House of Representatives in 2022 would be settled before it even began."

And that's why we HAVE TO get redistricting right, and why the NDRC's fight against gerrymandering is essential. Robert, with our end-of-year deadline coming up, will you rush a donation to help us keep fighting in state after state in 2022?

 

-- Team NDRC




 

this is egregious even for the GOP

Robert -- We often bring you news from larger states undergoing redistricting like Texas and Georgia. But today we thought you should see this headline from Tennessee:
‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

Robert -- We often bring you news from larger states undergoing redistricting like Texas and Georgia. But today we thought you should see this headline from Tennessee:

 
The Tennessean:
"House redistricting to eliminate five Democratic incumbents in urban Tennessee"

FIVE DEMOCRATIC INCUMBENTS in the Tennessee House. The article continues: "The plan... would further solidify the Republican supermajority in the General Assembly and diminish Democratic influence."

Appalling? Yes. And it's a good reminder that what happens in every state matters -- not just for the state's residents, but also on the national level.

Because remember –- states are drawing both state legislative and congressional lines right now. As Vox put it:

"A seat in Tennessee here, seats in Ohio and Missouri there... There are more possibilities, and they add up. Draw lines on the map that flip enough Democratic districts to safe GOP ones (just five on net), and Democrats' slim majority will likely be gone. If that happens, much of the battle for control of the House of Representatives in 2022 would be settled before it even began."

And that's why we HAVE TO get redistricting right, and why the NDRC's fight against gerrymandering is essential. Robert, with our end-of-year deadline coming up, will you rush a donation to help us keep fighting in state after state in 2022?

 

-- Team NDRC




 

The Jefferson Journal: Dominion Removes Reliable Power; Trimmed Energy Costs Still Going Up

The Jefferson Journal
Dominion Trims Clean Energy Conversion Cost
By Removing Reliable Power from Its Plan
By Stephen D. Haner
 
12/28/2021 -- The projected consumer cost of Dominion Energy Virginia’s conversion to wind and solar power rises steeply in the utility’s latest capital spending plan. Although slightly reduced from earlier estimates, the utility told the State Corporation Commission its residential customers may see prices jump more than 50% by 2030 and 70% by 2035. 
 
The higher consumer energy costs expected from going “green” became a political talking point during the last election. Another effort is expected in the 2022 General Assembly to revise or repeal the Virginia Clean Economy Act. That 2020 legislation mandated the coming move to wind and solar and the end of fossil fuels, but it passed only narrowly on largely party-line votes.
 
In 2020, the Commission staff reviewed the company’s capital plan and predicted that by 2030, a residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt hours per month would pay up to $808 more per year. In this recent review, the projection using the SCC staff assumptions comes out to $733 more per year ($61 per month) by 2030, still a 53% increase above 2020 levels.
 
What changed? For one thing, Dominion altered the plan by removing some additional natural gas generation it was planning to build. The 970 megawatts of new gas plants were intended to add reliability to the system as the intermittent wind and solar plants became a larger part of the daily power mix. Dominion may have lowered its projected costs by sacrificing its safety net.  
 
It left the door open to bring it back, writing: “Associated reliability analyses are complex, under development, and still ongoing…Future Plans will be updated, as needed, based on the results and findings of these reliability analyses.” 
 
Dominion’s update on what is called its integrated resource plan (IRP) was filed September 1. The case file includes only Dominion-supplied information, with no additional analysis by staff on the record. The SCC accepted it on October 28, making clear in the final order that it was not signing off on the plan itself.
 
As is commonplace in these cases, much of the detailed information on how costs will rise over the coming decades was declared to be confidential by the utility, and the Commission allowed it all to be hidden from the public. Reducing this secrecy is a needed reform
 
So, for example, you cannot see on the chart how much Dominion projects it will charge customers in future years for the carbon allowances it must buy under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. But RGGI is included, so leaving that interstate carbon tax compact (as Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin has proposed) would have a direct impact on lowering the rate of bill increases. How much it would save is hidden.
 
One planning element Dominion added, however, was an IRP alternative that it considers a lowest cost option. It would meet all the carbon dioxide reduction targets in the VCEA but would not include all the solar and wind plants that are mandated by that statute. Instead it would meet growing demand by making additional capacity purchases from other suppliers and states (where fossil fuels might remain common.)
 
Under that plan, that residential customer bill would rise 17% in ten years, up about $20 per month. The company would still be emitting about 18 million tons of CO2 per year.
 
The other two plans, designated B and C, would rapidly retire the utility’s remaining fossil fuel plants. Plan B would cut most of them, while Plan C would eliminate them all and achieve the zero CO2 emissions by the 2040s. Plan C provides only a slightly higher consumer cost than that for Plan B, mentioned at the beginning of this article (an added $733 per year for a household using 12,000 kilowatt hours.)
 
Dominion disputes the accuracy of the SCC’s method of projecting costs. It claims the SCC is underestimating the future output (capacity factor) of solar facilities and also underestimating growth in sales. Dominion claims Plan B will only cost that homeowner $556 more per year, a 40% increase by 2030.   
 
The IRP summarizes the coming energy conversion by year out to 2036. Both Plan B and C include the full development of Dominion’s proposed offshore wind project, with 2600 megawatts coming online in 2026 and another 2600 constructed by 2033.  Plan B calls for more than 14,000 megawatts of solar resources in the next 15 years, and another 4,000 megawatts a decade after that. 
 
Both Plan B and C assume continued operation of Dominion’s four nuclear reactors, which will require extensions of their federal licenses to operate past 60 years of age. Both include massive amount of storage capacity, to hold renewable power generated during low demand hours. That is where Plan C, the zero emissions option, differs from B. It requires more storage to compensate for having no remaining on-demand fossil fuel plants inside the state.  
 
Is any of this likely to be changed in 2022? As with many of the plans to unravel legislation adopted in 2020 and 2021 while the Democrats held total control over state government, the Virginia Senate is likely to be the roadblock to VCEA repeal. The Democrats still hold a 21-19 majority there, with a 12-3 stranglehold on the key committee, and one Senate Republican (Jill Vogel of Fauquier) voted for the bill in 2020. 
 
Steve Haner is Senior Fellow with the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy. He may be reached at steve@thomasjeffersoninst.org.
 

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Sunday, December 19, 2021

Your December 19th Sunday Summary ...

Dear Friend of TJI,
 
We ended last week urging prayers for the victims of the Kentucky tornados. We begin this week by letting you know how you can help.
 
Meanwhile …
 
1.) Governor Ralph Northam blinked: There will be state tax cuts next year, larger if the incoming Governor has his way. Senior Fellow Steve Haner has been pounding the tables on the flood of revenue coming into the state as a result of tax changes for more than a year now. He compares and contrasts what Northam and incoming Governor Glenn Youngkin propose here, and notes that Northam’s proposal is merely a down payment. It is, indeed, merely a down payment on what needs to be a larger and broader look at tax reform that will expand economic growth and opportunity for all Virginians. The Jefferson Institute plans to lead the way.
 
2.) Haner, meanwhile, is turning his attention to another type of tax: more regulations, noting that California now controls Virginia’s new car market as a result of legislation and regulatory decisions linking Virginia’s air emission regulations to those of the Golden State. Who in Virginia will get to vote on these? No one (here).   Over at Bacon’s Rebellion, Emilio Jaksetic argues that the action is unconstitutional (here). But until it is litigated by someone with standing, under proposed California regulations 100 percent of light vehicles sold in California must be zero emissions vehicles by 2035. That is now the target in Virginia, placing an equally bright target on the backs of car buyers.
 
3.) But while the state giveth, localities taketh away. Loudoun County is set to impose a five cent tax on plastic bags authorized under Northam by the General Assembly (here), joining Fairfax and Arlington Counties and the cities of Fredericksburg, Roanoke, and Fredericksburg. Coming to a jurisdiction near you …
 
4.) Not to be outdone, Albemarle County is now considering raising meals (a public referendum no longer being required) and hotel tax rates (here). This comes as Albemarle’s property values rise more than eight percent (here), which typically results in increased real property taxes if the local Board of Supervisors does not lower the rate (here). Values are also rising elsewhere in Virginia (here, and here), although some counties offer a rebate when they have a surplus (here).
 
5.) Local property taxes, of course, mostly pay for local public school systems. In Arlington, parents don’t believe they are getting what they pay for (here), demanding more time in classes. Students there, like everywhere, are striving to make up for pandemic-inspired “learning loss.” The CDC has at last concluded that students exposed to covid can keep learning in-person … and they have the studies to back it up (here).
 
6.) Meanwhile, as children suffer from having been forced out of class for a year, under direction from the 2021 General Assembly, the Virginia Department of Education is proposing to require teachers and other licensed school personnel to undergo “cultural competency” training to receive a teaching license and every two years thereafter for license renewal. Helping teachers understand the cultures within their classroom is a good thing but the Guidance uses Vernita Mayfield’s 56 Exercises to Help Educators Understand and Challenge Bias, Racism, and Privilege to inform creation of the guidance and is designed to, among other things, “increase your awareness of privilege and bias,” which sounds to many like components of Critical Race Theory educators deny is used in the classroom. Parents and others might want to read the guidance (here), a summary of Mayfield’s book – be sure to read the reader reviews (here) and offer comment before the public comment period ends on January 5 (here).

7.) The same Department of Education will in July release a regularly-scheduled update of Virginia's History Standards of Learning. Some fear it's approach may also be informed by The New York Times' discredited "1619 Project", which George Will calls "maliciousness in the service of progressivism's agenda," the historical illiteracy of which he pulls apart here.
 
8.) Mayfield’s book apparently offers “advice on establishing a safe environment for professional conversations.” That apparently does not extend to Harvard, where student conservatives are forced to write under pseudonyms to avoid ostracization (here). We are in, says Greg Lukianoff, “The Second Great Age of Political Correctness” (here). For Anna Krylov, writing in Quillette, it even extends to science, and he compares the prohibition of “certain ideas” to his own early life in the USSR, where communist “ideology permeated all aspects of life, and survival required strict adherence to the party line and enthusiastic displays of ideologically proper behavior.” (here)
 
9.) Unable to muster the votes to ram it through (thank you, Joe Manchin), Senator Chuck Schumer has put off President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better until next year (here). But the halt is temporary, and its important to keep the arguments against it flowing: The real problem, says American Enterprise Institute’s Brian Reidl, is “fitting $5 trillion in 10-year benefits into a $2.4 trillion score” (here), compounded by producer prices rising 9.6 percent from a year ago, the highest level in 10 years (here). Over at Reason Magazine, J.D. Tuccille notes that the only thing Build Back Better would buy is more inflation (here). In The Wall Street Journal, former Senator Phil Gramm and Mike Solon say “The Stagflation is Coming” (here) and Gerard Baker notes “Biden Seems Set on Making ‘Transitory’ Inflation Last” (here).
 
10.) It’s the holiday season, and commercials are everywhere … including this little newsletter. Over the last year, Senior Fellow Steve Haner has laid bare the arguments against Governor Northam’s higher taxes, successfully sought to stop the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI), and sought withdrawal of Virginia from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) – all of which are now in the process of being reversed. Visiting Fellow F. Vincent Vernuccio has exposed the collective bargaining processes in a multitude of jurisdictions and has drafted legislation guaranteeing workers their independent rights should they come under a monopoly union agreement. 

Our video on taxes (here) has been seen nearly a half-million times and helped raise the issue with Virginians, our video on TCI (here) alerted 30,000 Virginians to the higher gas taxes being planned, and our videos explaining choices to Virginian teachers (here and here) helped guide a couple hundred out of the politicized teachers union and into independent and non-political educator associations (taking $250,000 in dues money with them that can’t be used for leftwing candidates and causes).
 
The point is: Winning takes work. And that work, those videos, and the advertising to promote them require resources … which pays off in lower taxes, affordable and reliable energy, better education, and a stronger economy. Your tax-deductible investment in the Thomas Jefferson Institute will make a difference as you join us. Won’t you do so now by clicking here?
 
Finally … after the past two years, a delay in Build Back Better, a forthcoming tax cut, and an end to RGGI and TCI have been a long time coming. We hope you’ll savor the feeling.  
 
Happy Sunday, Everyone.
 
And best wishes from our entire team for the Merriest of Christmases, and a bright New Year ahead. We’ll see you in two weeks.
Chris Braunlich
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