MANCHESTER, New Hampshire — Former Sen. Scott Brown, who’s running an aggressive campaign against incumbent Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), is attacking her over her support for an energy tax he says would cause energy rates to spike.
“For New Hampshire, making ends meet is getting harder to do,” a narrator reads in a new 15-second television ad Brown’s campaign released on Monday morning. “And Jeanne Shaheen? She voted to pave the way for a new tax on energy. Jeanne Shaheen, standing with Obama, not New Hampshire.”
Also on Tuesday morning, Brown released a new web video targeting Shaheen for a national energy tax–noting that Shaheen’s promise to New Hampshire nearly two decades ago to lower energy prices has fallen flat and she’s reversed course.
“We have the nation’s highest electric rates,” Shaheen said in 1996 when she was running for governor, a video spot that Brown’s campaign picked up on. “That’s one thing I am definitely going to change.”
The video then cuts to a local news anchor from today, indicating that Shaheen has failed.
“New Hampshire, we have some of the highest energy costs in the nation,” the anchor says. “Will most likely go up forty three percent. That’s going to be forty-two dollars a month more out of your pocket. That’s going to include about seventy-five thousand electricity costumers here in New Hampshire.”
After cutting back to Shaheen, the video shifts back to the local news anchor detailing more costs that are going to effect New Hampshire voters.
Text then appears over Shaheen’s 1996 video on energy that reads: “Unplug Jeanne Shaheen for her broken promises.”
In March 2013, Shaheen voted for an amendment that would have established a national energy tax. The amendment’s sponsor, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), said it would “allow us to put a price on carbon.” According to the Los Angeles Times, the amendment would have established a fee, or a tax, on carbon emissions.
“Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a liberal Rhode Island Democrat, offered an amendment to the proposed fiscal 2014 budget resolution calling for ‘establishment of a fee on carbon pollution,'” the Times wrote. “The amendment didn’t suggest who’d pay the fee or how large it would be; it required only that the fee not increase the deficit and that all the revenue raised be ‘returned to the American people in the form of federal deficit reduction, reduced federal tax rates, cost savings or other direct benefits.'”
The National Association of Manufacturers said in a 2013 study that in addition to raising energy costs, such a tax would kill up to 10,000 New Hampshire jobs.
“This tax would deal a blow to employment in New Hampshire, with a loss of worker income equivalent to 7,000 to 10,000 jobs in 2013 and 10,000 by 2023,” NAM wrote in February 2013.
It would also, according to the NAM study, cause gas prices to “jump by more than 20 cents a gallon in 2013” and could increase the average energy costs in New Hampshire homes by more than 18 percent.
During a campaign stop over in Seabrook on the New Hampshire coast on Monday evening, Brown hammered Shaheen on energy again.
“For everybody who’s running, be our voices, fight back and say ‘I know Scott Brown, I know that he’s fighting to keep energy prices low,'” Brown said to the 80 or so Republican activists present. “‘He’s fighting for motorists.’ That’s why they’re hammering me on this oil stuff, guys. They’re actually criticizing me for keeping your gas prices low.”
“I’m sorry, I’m going to do that every time–guilty as charged,” Brown said. “Because when energy rates are rising, it’s getting colder out, and with healthcare costs rising, with the more and more bureaucratic regulation and red tape, the complete dysfunction in Washington, the dangerous borders, the lack of respect by our allies and fear by our foes, there’s so many issues in play right now.”
When Shaheen was running for Senate in 2008–when she ousted now former Sen. John E. Sununu–she criticized Sununu for voting 90 percent of the time with President George W. Bush, something she said caused energy prices to go up.
“He voted with George Bush on the economic policies that have gotten us into this mess with jobs lost, and higher energy costs, and higher health care costs and now the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression,” Shaheen said in an October 2008 debate. “And that’s the concern that I have about the kind of representation we’ve had from John Sununu over the last six years.”
Shaheen, on the other hand, has voted 99 percent of the time with President Barack Obama.