Coal Tattoo

What happened to Manchin’s power line tax?

Writing a quick story for the Gazette Web site and our print edition about a recent ruling in the TrAIL power line case  reminded me of something that was clearly missing from Gov. Joe Manchin’s State of the State address last week.

The governor talked a lot about energy, but did not mention one word about his promise to introduce a “transmission tax” on new high-voltage power lines such as TrAIL. The governor had initially announced this idea last May, but repeated his promise in August, just after the Public Service Commission issued its ruling approving TrAIL.

Manchin had said he hoped to use part of the revenue from the tax to offset electricity rate hikes that fund construction of such projects, and to provide new revenue for the state and for counties where the TrAIL line would be located. Manchin even went so far as to warn Allegheny Energy and other utility companies to get behind his plan, or face his opposition to their projects.

But none of that came up last week, when Manchin announced his plans for this legislative session.

I asked Matt Turner, the governor’s communications director, about the transmission tax, and this is what he said:

He still plans to introduce it.

Don’t have a specific date — they’re working on it.