Global Warming Tax...Maybe
- Could be lots better, but at least people are thinking a little. Of
course, our local Clarkson-equivalents weighed in....
> From the Los Angeles Times
> Driver fee would help fight warming
> L.A. County motorists would pay at pump or on vehicle registration.
> By Patrick McGreevy
> Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
> April 1, 2008
> SACRAMENTO -- — Motorists in Los Angeles County could end up paying
> an extra 9 cents per gallon at the gas pump, or an additional $90
> on their vehicle registration, under proposals aimed at getting
> them to help fight global warming.
> Voters would be able to decide whether to approve a "climate change
> mitigation and adaptation fee" under legislation being considered
> by state lawmakers and endorsed by the board of the Los Angeles
> County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
> The money would fund improvements to mass transit and programs to
> relieve traffic congestion at a time when transportation dollars
> from Washington and Sacramento are hard to come by.
> "At this point the people of the Los Angeles region have just had
> it when it comes to traffic and air quality," said Assemblyman Mike
> Feuer (D-Los Angeles), author of the legislation, AB2558.
> But opponents already are rallying against the measure, saying it
> exploits public concern about climate change to tap taxpayers for
> the MTA's regular services: providing bus and rail lines.
> "This seems to be a cashing in on public sympathies on global
> warming to generate additional funding for programs that already
> exist," said Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers
> Coupal also objected to the measure's being called a "fee" -- which
> requires a simple majority for approval -- instead of a "tax,"
> which requires two-thirds approval.
> Feuer's bill would allow the MTA board to ask voters either for a
> fee of up to 3% of the retail price of gas, or for a vehicle
> registration fee of up to $90 per year. The money would pay for
> programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
> The registration fee would be higher for cars, trucks and SUVs that
> produce more carbon emissions, a feature that backers said would
> discourage drivers from using higher-polluting vehicles.
> Either alternative could produce $400 million a year for public
> transit projects, according to Roger Snoble, the MTA's chief
> The MTA board supports the bill.
> "With the state budget deficit and dwindling federal transportation
> dollars, we must look at local revenue sources," said a board
> report signed by Snoble.
> The board has not decided whether to put such a measure on the
> ballot or which of the two revenue alternatives it would seek, said
> Michael Turner, government relations manager for the MTA.
> Gerry Miller, chief legislative analyst for the city of Los
> Angeles, said he supported the bill in concept. In a report to the
> City Council, he described it as essentially a tax on the carbon
> dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels.
> Few government agencies have imposed such a charge, Miller said.
> "Currently, the prices of gasoline, electricity and fuels include
> none of the costs associated with climate change," Miller's report
> says. "This omission suppresses incentives to develop and deploy
> carbon-reducing measures. . . ."
> County Supervisor Mike Antonovich was the only MTA board member to
> vote against Feuer's bill.
> "The supervisor believes we are already taxed enough on gas," said
> Tony Bell, an Antonovich spokesman. "Gas taxes aren't going to
> their promised target anyway."
> In addition, Antonovich believes the MTA board is stacked in favor
> of Los Angeles and that the city has received more than its fair
> share of money, shorting other areas of the county.
> Coupal said not everyone agreed that man-made carbon emissions are
> causing global warming, but even if they are, he questioned the
> idea of the MTA asking local taxpayers to address the issue.
> "We would definitely oppose it," Coupal said. "To the extent that
> something like climate change is a problem, it should be addressed
> on a global basis."
> The proposal is gaining support among environmentalists, who
> believe local and state action is justified in the face of what
> they see as an inadequate response by the federal government.
> "People will support it if they know it's something that will not
> only fight global warming but improve their quality of life," said
> Tim Frank of the Sierra Club of California.