Green New Deal Likely To Hurt Families It Is Designed To Help

One area of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2019 Justice Agenda isn’t likely to be particularly fair for low- and middle-income families.

Cuomo plans to make New York the most progressive state in the nation in moving to renewables and growing the new sustainable green economy. His Green New Deal proposal includes making New York’s electricity 100 percent carbon neutral by 2040 and putting the state on the path to eliminating its carbon footprint.

It sounds good in theory. A recent report from the Pacific Research Institute, however, shows that New York and California’s government-based efforts to reduce emissions are adding to power bills and aren’t as effective as the efforts of other states. Electric prices in New York are the nation’s sixth-highest. The report also cites a 2016 analysis of the Clean Power Plan, a federal mandate that would have required New York and California to implement many of the global warming policies they are implementing voluntarily.

In New York, the average annual energy expenditures for a household would increase to $1,554, or 2.86 percent of the median household income. The burdens would range from 0.84 percent in the upper-income parts of Richmond County, to 11.44 percent in the lower-income parts of Onondaga County.

“For families and households, the higher electricity and fuel costs increase their cost of living, and makes California and New York even less affordable places to live,” the report concludes. “The costs are particularly burdensome on lower-income families who can least afford these additional expenses.”

A news release from the governor’s office last week trumpeted the Justice Agenda as a way “to ensure the promise of full, true justice for all, including economic justice, social justice, racial justice.” If the Pacific Research Institute is right, the Green New Deal is likely to hurt the very families the rest of his agenda aims to help economically. No one has seen specific proposals associated with the Green New Deal, but New York’s aggressive actions to cut greenhouse gas emissions provide a pretty good baseline to follow when it comes to the costs on a family’s power bills. State legislators should proceed with caution. New York may indeed eliminate its carbon footprint — because no one can afford to live inside its borders.