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When the slop is in the trough

When the slop is the trough all the pigs will be there. And many were there recently at Tom’s Restaurant & Tavern for a panel discussion on renewable energy standards, specifically the 15 percent mandate passed by the Arizona Corporation Commission.

Actually, the discussion was more about government subsidies than renewable energy standards; especially with respect to the notion that “everyone knows” these subsidies are needed to promote Arizona’s nascent solar industry.

Of the five panelists, only Nick Dranias from the Goldwater Institute was defending free markets. But a contractor in the room asked Nick, “Do you recognize the value of these subsidies?” Corporation Commission Chair Kris Mayes criticized the Goldwater Institute because, “They live in a think tank, while the rest of us have to live in the real world.”

Apparently, Mayes thinks real-world people always favor government subsidies.

Mayes also stated that “every energy source is subsidized.” I doubt that’s true but, if so, do two wrongs make a right? And Mayes neglected to mention that the Goldwater Institute does not favor
subsidies for anyone.

Mayes also bemoaned the fact that, “We could have lost Suntech” if the Legislature would have prevailed with their attempt to wrest the power from the Corporation Commission to set energy policy. It was obvious from the statements at the breakfast that many people believe Mayes and her fellow politicians at the commission are the experts on energy policy and we should defer to them. This notion suggests that government should pick winners and losers rather than let companies
compete in the market.

Other comments of Mayes with respect to the legislative process were even more telling. She said, “The debate is over regarding whether we should do more.” She alleged that, in Arizona, we “don’t know what we want to be,” and asked. “Do we want to be schizophrenic?” by considering the elimination of solar subsidies.

In a bit of lofty philosophic principle, one panelist stated that there’s a “piece of this action for all of us.” Translation: All you little piggies line
up now.

Rep. Lucy Mason, R-Prescott, said she has always been “for business.”

In this case, that means more subsidies. She said, “We need to telegraph that Arizona is open for business.” Translation: The trough is filled with government subsidies, so ya’ll come on over.

- Roy Miller is a Phoenix resident who was one of founders of the
Goldwater Institute.

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