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Carbon tax? *** UPDATED X1 ***

Friday, Feb 15, 2008

* I’ve been telling subscribers about the possibility of a “carbon tax” proposal for over a week now, and Bethany Jaeger gives it mention this afternoon

There’s more talk about Gov. Rod Blagojevich seeking to garner revenue through a so-called carbon tax, which the Illinois Chamber of Commerce already is prepared to oppose if it appears in his annual budget address February 20. […]

If the governor does propose a form of tax on carbon dioxide emissions, expect vocal opposition from the agribusiness and coal industries. We’ll have more on the carbon tax later if it is indeed proposed. The chamber suggests to learn more in the meantime.

I wonder if the Chamber was being tongue in cheek because that website favors carbon taxes.

…Adding… I’ve also been told about internal discussions involving a corporate asset tax.

*** UPDATE *** The administration responds to the IL Chamber’s worries about the potential for the governor introducing a carbon tax…

Blagojevich spokeswoman Rebecca Rausch issued a written statement that the chamber is misguided. “It seems like a waste of time and resources,” she wrote, “but if that’s what the chamber wants to do, it’s their decision.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Napoleon has left the building - Friday, Feb 15, 08 @ 4:19 pm:

    Seems a bit silly to me to oppose the Governor’s proposal before it has even been unveiled. Of course he won’t have any details or an actual bill for us to look at until May 15th, but still - I won’t start to say I have a problem with it until he actually announces it. The Chamber jumped the gun here a bit.

  2. - GoBearsss - Friday, Feb 15, 08 @ 4:22 pm:

    It is comical - when you know nothing, it seems people grab at anything.

    I heard someone the other day say the Gov was going to reintroduce the GRT. I doubt he would.

    I am sure the Chamber is just trying to muscle some money out of the energy companies - must be their new fundraising plans.

  3. - Rich Miller - Friday, Feb 15, 08 @ 4:32 pm:

    GoBearsss, then perhaps you should stop people in your shop from telling their lobbyist [and legislator] friends about the internal discussions.

  4. - Squideshi - Friday, Feb 15, 08 @ 4:38 pm:

    Kudos to Blagojevich, should he actually propose this. The Green Party specifically supports a “carbon tax” in its national platform; and here is that the platform of the Illinois Green Party says:

    “In addition, one important policy change that could be adopted at the state level is the introduction of a “pollution tax.” The idea behind the pollution tax is to impose the costs of despoiling the environment on those businesses that are responsible for creating the environmental hazards. Producers of greenhouse gases - ozone depleting chemicals and dioxins, for example - would be among those taxed. The tax would give manufacturers an incentive to change their practices and give nonpolluting competitors an edge in the marketplace. Furthermore, the funds raised in this manner could be used to help develop and implement alternative methods of production.”

  5. - A Citizen - Friday, Feb 15, 08 @ 4:46 pm:

    Carbon tax ? That is idiotic nonsense. We could raise much more with the gravity tax! Those consuming too much gravity pay and pay “hefty” taxes. Now there is a real idea.

  6. - Anonymous - Friday, Feb 15, 08 @ 4:56 pm:

    I favor a tax on political campaigns along the same lines as professional baseball and basketball team salary ceilings. After a state race hits $50,000 for the House, $75,000 for the Senate, and $500,000 for statewide or Congress, the candidate has to pay 1/2 the overage as an excess campaign costs tax.

  7. - GoBearsss - Friday, Feb 15, 08 @ 4:57 pm:

    I don’t think that describes anyone in my shop, but I will tell them all anyway! :)

    I just think the carbon tax and corporate asset tax ideas are just comical. They don’t seem to me to pass the smell test.

    But, then again, you never know.

  8. - enviro-zealot - Friday, Feb 15, 08 @ 5:25 pm:

    A carbon tax makes sense because the cost of energy doesn’t account for all of the environmental damages associated with energy production, distribution and consumption.

    However, the tax must be set at a level that will motivate facilities to take steps to reduce their emissions. Ideally, it should be established at the national or regional level to even the playing field.

    The carbon tax shouldn’t be created just to help plug the state’s growing budget deficit. A good chunk of the revenue should be used to help industry, institutions and consumers shift to cleaner, renweable technologies, while making their existing buildings and operations more energy efficient.

  9. - Pot Stirrer - Friday, Feb 15, 08 @ 5:59 pm:

    Carbon Taxes serve only to give the govenment another vehicle to collect money which they have proven to fritter away on other programs. Carbon research tax incentives might actually do something for those industries affected and achieve the desired objective. Carrots usually work better than sticks.

  10. - DC - Friday, Feb 15, 08 @ 8:04 pm:

    Has Rod met a tax he didn’t like? I think the state ought to tax news releases, press conferences and lawsuits initiated by the Executive branch. At the risk of sounding cynical, I would really like to know more about the money trail on this proposal. Rod doesn’t do anything for altruistic reasons, even if he doesn’t directly benefit from it. Would the tax revenue go to support (read: subsidize) start-up companies or new companies who magically (or already have) contributed to the legal defense, er,um I mean campaign fund?

  11. Pingback Carbon Tax Center » Carbon Tax - Friday, Feb 15, 08 @ 11:19 pm:

    […] 02/16/2008 by Daniel Rosenblum Carbon Tax? (The Capital Fax Blog) Filed under Headlines […]

  12. - Pot calling kettle - Saturday, Feb 16, 08 @ 9:09 am:

    Enviro-zealot has it right. This should not be seen as a deficit plug because, if properly designed, it would encourage a decrease in emissions and thus would decrease as a revenue surce over time.

    Carbon taxes are meant to internalize an economic cost usually borne by society. Some generators will reduce their emissions, which is the desired out come. Others will pay the tax and revenues generated from taxing them are best suited to further the goal of decreasing the impact on society imposed by those continuing emissions.

  13. - NoGiftsPlease - Sunday, Feb 17, 08 @ 3:53 pm:

    The idea of a carbon tax to control pollution is good. However, if the tax is imposed in illinois and not in other states, it is bad for Illinois and wouldn’t impact pollution. This is because business would move to another state and continue polluting. As a simple revenue raiser, “two thumbs down.” Applied in isolation, you could easily end up on the negative revenue side.

  14. - some guy - Monday, Feb 18, 08 @ 9:39 am:

    Would a carbon tax raise gas prices or is this just a business thing?

  15. - Anon - Monday, Feb 18, 08 @ 12:27 pm:

    It’s always perplexing when people say, as No Gifts Please does, that “business would move to another state and continue polluting”. Does anyone really think you can move a coal plant?

  16. - NoGiftsPlease - Monday, Feb 18, 08 @ 6:29 pm:

    You CAN move a coal plant if it the cost of operating it in Illinois outweights the cost of opening and operating it elsewhere. However, the idea that “coal plants” are the only industries that produce CO2 is incorrect. Industry is the largest producer of CO2 emissions, followed by transportation. What kind of industries produce large CO2 emissions? Cement production, lime production, iron and steel production, refineries, pulp and paper, fertilizer production, petro-chemicals. We certainly have a huge transportation industry here in Illinois, being at the crossroads of the nation. I’m not an expert on the industrial mix of Illinois, but I think a carbon tax would hit a larger base than some think. Your own household transportation would be fair game.

  17. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Feb 20, 08 @ 7:54 pm:

    Far wiser and simpler to just raise air permit fees based on the amount of carbon emitted, especially since the Supreme Court ruled EPA (thus IEPA, right?) can regulate carbon emissions.

    Reducing our oil consumption with a gas tax would actually improve our economy because over time we’d become more efficient and far less money would be flowing out and going overseas.

    If we could firmly tie higher carbon revenues to lower income or property taxes who would object to taxing the bad instead of the good?

    The real question is what to do with the money? Hopefully, most of it would go back to consumers as a check to help offset higher energy prices. People who save enough energy may actually profit.

    Only a very small portion of any revenues should be entrusted to government or corporations, as they’re more likely to help friends with far more expensive solutions than we want or need.

  18. - PCC - Tuesday, Feb 26, 08 @ 1:03 pm:

    In other news, British Columbia is the second Canadian province to propose a carbon tax — and they’re going whole hog, with a levy that amounts to nearly $0.30/gallon of gas when fully phased in. Note that all of the initial revenue will be returned to taxpayers as by cutting income tax and some business taxes.

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