Providing the latest evidence that state legislators often have too much timeÃ¢â?¬â??and tax revenueÃ¢â?¬â??on their hands, this story describes Iowa lawmakers’ intention to make the “Hawkeye State” ‘energy independent’ by 2025. Already approved by a House Committee, the legislation would create a Director of Energy Independence, an advisory council of experts who would set goals and issue fuel mandates and create an Iowa Power Fund to spend $100 million taxpayer dollars ‘investing’ in renewable energy research. (Apparently the private sector missed the memo that their might be a market in renewable energy.) State Senator Rob Hogg offered this astute observation in support of the proposal: “We are hemorrhaging billions of dollars … to out of state and out of country fossil fuel producers,” Hogg said. “We need to reverse that trend.” No word on whether Sen. Hogg feels empathy for those out of state consumers who are hemorrhaging billions on Iowa corn products. Perhaps once the state is weaned off foreign oil, this Prairie Pericles can next promote Iowa textile mills to make the state independent of foreign t-shirts or find a way to reverse its dependence on foreign built TVs. Of course, this flight of fancy might be funny if it weren’t tax dollars from the paychecks of actual Iowans funding this nonsense. A couple years ago, the Iowa Legislature created the Grow Iowa Values Fund, to provide venture capital for the state’s economy. A recent state auditor report found that the program had widely missed most of its goals. No doubt the lofty goals of ‘energy independence’ will meet the same end. Too bad taxpayers’ wallets will be $100 million lighter.
Michael Flynn is Director of Government Affairs for the Reason Foundation, a nonpartisan think tank whose mission is to advance a free society by developing, applying, and promoting libertarian principles, including individual liberty, free markets, and the rule of law.