Last week, the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance published a new video of David Ismay, the Baker/Polito administration’s Undersecretary for Climate Change, telling a group of Vermont advocates that in order for Massachusetts to lower carbon emissions, the state needs to “break their will” and “turn the screws on” ordinary people to achieve the administration’s climate goals.
Ismay gave the remarks on Jan. 25 at the Vermont Climate Council meeting. He said, “So let me say that again, 60% of our emissions that need to be reduced come from you, the person across the street, the senior on fixed income, right … there is no bad guy left, at least in Massachusetts to point the finger at, to turn the screws on, and you know, to break their will, so they stop emitting. That’s you. We have to break your will. Right, I can’t even say that publicly …” The video may be found on MassFiscal’s YouTube page.
On Friday, Gov. Baker was asked about Ismay’s comments and responded that no one working for him should “say” or “think” what Ismay said but stopped short from calling on the controversial undersecretary to step down. As the Baker administration has continued to impose onerous emissions reduction goals and force back door gas tax schemes like the Transportation & Climate Initiative, they have repeatedly told us the goal wasn’t to make these types of everyday, essential fuels too expensive to use. Well, it looks like Undersecretary Ismay accidentally told us the truth. The truth is, that is the only way they will be able to achieve these emissions reductions mandates, and depending on how elastic the emissions producing activity is, the expenses may skyrocket.
Since the video became public, it’s been widely shared across both Massachusetts and the rest of the country. The general public deserves to know if these words are routinely used and these attitudes commonly held by the undersecretary and his staff as they carry out the work of the people of Massachusetts. Ismay acknowledged he shouldn’t have said these comments publicly, but he did. MassFiscal filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking to answer this question.
Remarks like this have no place in state government. Ismay should be dismissed from his powerful position as the state’s top climate regulator, as he’s clearly demonstrated he does not have the best interests of the residents of Massachusetts at heart. If Gov. Baker continues to refuse to dismiss Ismay, then the public has the right to know more about how the administration’s top official for climate change intends to further “break their will” and “turn the screws on” ordinary people including the “person across the street” and the “elderly on fixed income.” Maybe those plans are already underway.
Paul Diego Craney is the spokesperson of Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance.
[Update, Feb. 11: Massachusetts climate official David Ismay resigns]
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