By Karl Keefer | Jun 29, 2009
While many of us were preoccupied with the shocking news and
reported details of Michael Jackson’s untimely death, the House of
Representatives quietly – and narrowly – pushed through HR 2454, the
“American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009.” Otherwise known as
the “Cap and Trade” or the “Waxman-Markey Energy Bill,” this
legislation now before the Senate will have a devastating impact on the
coin laundry industry should it become law.
Although I have not read every one of the bill’s more than 1,400
pages, I have read the Congressional Research Service Summary. By the
way, I don’t believe anyone voting on this legislation could have read
As I understand the details, this bill was originally introduced to
the House floor sometime around noon on Thursday, June 25, then as a
1,200-page bill. A 300-page amendment was introduced at around 3:00
a.m. (to address farming-constituent concerns) the morning following –
and narrowly passed, with a 219-212 vote late Friday evening.
After the bill was passed, President Obama praised the legislation as a “jobs bill.”
The American Clean Energy and Security Act is anything but a “jobs bill,” but rather a tax bill. George Will of the Washington Post
wrote in his June 25 column, “Tilting at Green Windmills,” of Spanish
professor Gabriel Calzada’s study on the plight of Spain in their quest
to embrace “green jobs.” Calzada reports Spain’s unemployment at 18.1
percent as a direct result of such alternative energy policies.
In addition, Ben Lieberman, a senior policy analyst for the Energy
and Environment in the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy
Studies at the Heritage Foundation, provided testimony before the
Senate Republican Conference on June 26 and stated, “We estimate job
losses averaging 1,145,000 at any given time from 2012-2035.”
If it’s not a “jobs bill” as proposed by President Obama, what is it?
Conceptually, this legislation is to tax energy in such a way to
force conservation, as well as to raise funds for other “green”
initiatives and federal programs. Therefore, it’s merely packaging for
yet another energy tax. According to the Heritage Foundation, their
researchers believe this tax will “raise electric rates 90 percent,
gasoline prices by 74 percent and natural gas prices by 55 percent,
after adjusting for inflation.”
I suppose, because all self-service laundries will be affected
equally in the paying of higher utility costs, it will not create
unfair competition. However, my experience with multi-housing laundry
is that many property owners do not always see their laundry rooms as
profit centers, but rather as added amenities for their tenants and,
therefore, are slow to increase laundry room vend pricing.
Patrons who enjoy the accommodations of a particular self-service
laundry may no longer be able to justify the drive to one of our stores
if a significant price discrepancy is placed before them. Even though
this is a pass-through expense to our customers, if passed into law, HR
2454 is certain to negatively affect our bottom lines.
I always find it difficult to rise my vend prices. I am very
empathetic with respect to their personal financial struggles of many
of my customers. Unfortunately, when the dust settles, it will be my
customers who will carry the burden of this new hidden tax.
This is why I plan to distribute pamphlets within my two laundries
in hopes to create a grassroots movement to stop HR 2454 or similar
legislation from ever becoming law. If laundromat patrons realize they
can have a positive impact on how much they pay for laundry, they will
make the call to their Senators. And if I can encourage other operators
to do the same, perhaps we can mobilize millions of constituents to
call their Senators in opposition to raising the cost of doing laundry.