Pull nuke tax plug

Amid all the heated debate over the state budget, we're pleased to learn that Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is keeping a cool head in opposing an ill-conceived plan to impose a new tax of about $335 million a year on nuclear electricity generation at Waterford's Millstone Power Station.

The proposed legislation, intended to increase revenues and therefore lower tax bills, would have produced the exact opposite effect by driving up costs for Millstone's owner, Dominion Resources Inc., that eventually would be passed on to residential, industrial and commercial consumers.

The business community has long faulted Connecticut for high operating costs compared to other states, and rising electric rates would have driven many to scale back, cut jobs or, even worse, move elsewhere in the country. Dominion itself had warned that the tax, if approved, would force it to close one or more of Millstone's operating reactors.

Proponents of the new tax had unfairly lumped nuclear power with "dirty" and "dangerous" oil- and coal-powered electric generators they said should be penalized to reward such "good" sources as natural gas, wind and solar power.

We're all for increasing the development of renewable sources of electricity, but also insist that nuclear power must remain a significant component of any plan to reduce our dependence on oil and coal.

In light of the ongoing crisis at Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi plant that was damaged during last month's earthquake and tsunami, authorities must pay even closer attention to nuclear-power safety. We cannot afford otherwise - just as we cannot afford to drive away existing businesses or discourage new ones from relocating to Connecticut.

Meanwhile, Gov. Malloy, who voiced his objections to the new nuclear tax during a radio interview Monday, has proposed a smaller tax on nearly all electric-generating plants that would raise about $50 million. While this newspaper is not completely sold on the new tax, we at least support the idea that the burden of any additional levy be shared by other power generators.

The editorial board is composed of the publisher and four journalists of varied editing and reporting backgrounds. The board's discussions and information gained from its meetings with political, civic, and business leaders drive the institutional voice of The Day, as expressed in its editorials. The editorial department operates separately from the newsroom.

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