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Global Warming Tax...Maybe

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  • Richard Risemberg
    Could be lots better, but at least people are thinking a little. Of course, our local Clarkson-equivalents weighed in.... ... -- Richard Risemberg
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 2, 2008
      Could be lots better, but at least people are thinking a little. Of
      course, our local Clarkson-equivalents weighed in....

      > http://www.latimes.com/news/local/los_angeles_metro/la-me-
      > taxes1apr01,1,5422622.story
      > 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
      > Assn.
      > 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
      > executive.
      > 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.

      Richard Risemberg
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