I'm using "higher taxes" loosely here, but in the same way that anti-regulatory folks call any price increase a higher tax:
American Electric Power, which is based in Columbus, Ohio, is proposing a $1 billion retrofit to allow the plant to continue burning coal and has asked Kentucky regulators to approve a 30 percent increase in electricity rates to pay for the work. ...
Channeling the animosity toward Washington and fears about their livelihoods, coal producers, union leaders, landowners and railroads came together to pressure American Electric Power to back down on its plan to close the coal furnaces at Big Sandy. They have leaned on county judges, state legislators and other politicians to attempt to silence public criticism of the 30 percent electricity rate increase and to pressure the Kentucky Public Service Commission to approve the retrofit project.
Saving coal, they argued, justified the rate increase, which would cost the average residential customer about $472 a year in addition to the typical $1,580 annual bill today.
“I will grant you it is going to cost a lot of money to retrofit that plant,” said Nick Carter, the president of a company that represents landowners whose properties hold billions of tons of coal reserves. “But how many teachers will be laid off and how many churches will have to close if Big Sandy stops burning coal?”
This would be a neat contingent valuation question: Would you be willing to pay $A each month in higher utility bills in order to avoid the closing of Q churches? (please ignore that it is an open ended question, instead of a referendum). Where is A and Q are randomly varied over respondents in order to test for price and quantity (i.e., scope) effects.
But seriously, when a price increase funds job protection the benefits of the policy equal the cost and the net effect is zero. This is simply a transfer from consumers to producers.