An unelected bureaucracy is about to impose what amounts to a $4 billion annual tax on Texas’ electricity consumers, and State Sen. John Carona is apparently okay with it. Fortunately, other senators aren’t following his let-the-bureaucrats-bilk-Texans lead.

The Public Utility Commission has decided to impose a “capacity market” regulatory scheme on the Lone Star State. Under this radical arrangement, the PUC would force what the Texas Public Policy Foundation says is a “between $3 and $5 billion per year or, put another way, $180 per year for every man, women, and child in Texas” for higher electric bills. That money flows from Texans to the pockets of electricity generators.

The nice folks at TPPF have written extensively about the pitfalls and perils of this wrong-headed scheme designed to pad the pockets of industry cronies.

And no one does cronyism like John Carona, so—of course—he is letting it sail through.

A little background. Carona likes to brag about how powerful he is; it is the hallmark of every speech he gives. If he wants something to happen, it happens; if he doesn’t, it doesn’t. Or, at least, that’s what he says.

Of course, he also “says” he supports all sorts of conservative government reforms. Yet, oddly, none have moved forward. So… either he isn’t as powerful as he claims, or he is lying about his support.

Which brings us back to the PUC’s $4 billion levy. As chairman of the Texas Senate’s Business & Commerce Committee, Carona has some jurisdiction over the PUC. Yet he has been mostly silent on the capacity market issue. When the PUC appeared before his committee earlier this fall, he did nothing to slow them down.

Carona played into the hike-the-rate narrative by lobbing softball questions to the PUC commissioners by falsely defining the issue as somehow helping Texans. Because, of course, we all know a $4 billion tax hike is great economic policies for working families and small businesses…

Fortunately, the chairman of Senate Committee on Natural Resources—Republican Troy Fraser of Horseshoe Bend—isn’t following Carona’s destructive lead. Sen. Fraser recently held hearings on the PUC’s plans and called out their illegal usurpation of power.

In a letter to the PUC chairman, Fraser said the bureaucracy did not “possess the statutory authority to change the fundamental design of the market.”

Back to Carona.

As the most liberal Republican in the Texas Senate, according to a nonpartisan study by Rice University, John Carona can usually be found working for reckless tax and spending policies. Carona is the king of cronyism, making sure lobbyists and corporate interests get special treatment.

And if Texans have to pay $4 billion more in state-mandated electric bills so that Carona’s buddies can make a few extra bucks, that’s okay by him.

Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael Quinn Sullivan is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. He is a native Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M, and an Eagle Scout. Previously, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine contributor, Capitol Hill staffer, and think tank vice president. Michael and his wife have three adult children, a son-in-law, and a dog. Michael is the author of three books, including "Reflections on Life and Liberty."