The Maryland House of Delegates voted Tuesday to overturn Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of the 2016 Clean Energy Jobs — Renewable Portfolio Standard Revisions Act. The state Senate followed with a vote to overturn the veto on Sunday, and both the governor and the Democratic legislature have pushed their talking points. For the Democrats, the bill is a “Green Jobs Act.” For the governor, it’s the “Sunshine Tax.”

The act alters the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, the percentage of Maryland’s energy that has to come from renewable sources, changing the current goal of 20 percent renewable energy by 2022 to 25 percent by 2025. Additionally, the law increases the target proportion of energy from solar sources, taking it from 2 percent to 2.5 percent by 2020.

Democratic proponents of the measure claim the state’s demand for an increase in renewable energy will result in more job opportunities in the field, specifically in solar energy. Some proponents, such as the Baltimore Sun editorial board, view the bill as a stand against President Trump and Environmental Protection Agency nominee Scott Pruitt. The Maryland Senate Democrats’ Facebook page goes as far as accusing Hogan of “fighting science” for opposing the bill.

Hogan disagrees, saying the bill will increase pressure on the wallets of Maryland ratepayers. In his letter on the decision to veto the bill, Hogan said, “The goal of Senate Bill 921 … is laudable, but increasing taxes to achieve this goal is the wrong approach.” In response to the claim that the bill would create more jobs, he wrote, “While I appreciate the economic benefit of Maryland’s growing solar industry, there is also a corresponding cost which is borne by all citizens.”

What should we make of this controversy? At its core, the argument is not over whether renewable energy development is important, if Maryland should have strong standards in pursuing the use of green energy or even whether green energy can be a source of job opportunities for Marylanders. This disagreement between the governor and Democratic opponents came down to finding a balance between pushing for aggressive green energy standards and keeping the cost of living in Maryland affordable.

However, in trying to find the balance between these two worthy goals, the push to alter the act was a step too far. The bill could add as much as $196 million per year to Maryland ratepayers’ electricity bills, on top of the $127 million per year already being paid.

Legislators should have considered that the individuals most impacted would be those living in the least energy-efficient homes, who are often some of the poorest Marylanders. Even if the changes increase electricity bills for the individuals and families by only $50 per year, that increase can be significantly damaging to their standard of living.

Rather than fighting for a more environmentally-friendly Maryland on the backs of ratepayers, Democratic legislators should have instead joined with Hogan on his multitude of proposals on tax incentives, green job training, allocations to the Chesapeake Bay Trust and the creation of a Green Energy Institute at the University of Maryland. The push for a greener Maryland can best be made with consideration to the cost of living here and with initiatives that both sides of the aisle can get behind.

Sam Wallace is a public policy graduate student. He can be reached at