Climate law and community investment would penalize retirees

CASE. The author of the letter says: “It is unconscionable to penalize retirees for driving to buy groceries, take life-saving prescriptions, visit family and friends and heat their homes – activities that are not major contributors to carbon emissions.” (Will Waldron/Times Union)

Will Waldron/Times Union

The Retired Public Employees Association, which represents the interests of nearly 500,000 state and local government retirees, opposes the June 24 op-ed ‘A ticking climate clock’ on the investment law climate and community. This is not the best way to reduce carbon emissions, not least because it would tax the use of the energy that retirees depend on for their health, safety and quality of life: gasoline and fuel for cook and heat their homes.

New York has some of the highest gasoline taxes in the country. Retirees live on fixed incomes. They can’t afford to pay an extra 55 cents per gallon for gas and 26% for heating oil. Many retirees have health issues that require a warm house in the winter. Renewable energy conversion expenses are not an option.

Penalizing retirees for driving to get groceries, take lifesaving prescriptions, visit family and friends, and heat their homes – activities that are not major contributors to carbon emissions is unconscionable.

Most of the tax revenue would not be used directly to fight climate change, but for social programs. Refunds for low- and middle-income residents would return the same tax money they have already paid. It does not mean anything.

The Association of Retired Public Employees supports environmental protection; however, legislators should tax the sources of carbon emissions: industries and companies that are not doing their part to reduce their use of fossil fuels.

Diana Hinchcliff


President, Association of Retired Public Service Employees

Jill E. Washington