‘The tax will be hidden in the price of all goods and services…’
(Michael Barnes, Liberty Headlines) Florida Congressman Francis Rooney is the only Republican backing a House Democratic effort to tax carbon dioxide emissions.
Rooney is breaking ranks with GOP colleagues to support a progressive climate change bill that would create a “Carbon Dividend Trust Fund” to “encourage market innovation of clean energy.”
The brash move could end up costing Rooney—although not nearly as much as it will cost the American taxpayer, according to a leading Washington, D.C. tax group.
The plan involves charging a $15 “fee” for every ton of carbon dioxide emitted by a fossil-fuel producer, processor or importer, along with a $10 annual fee increase. The money raised would be redistributed back to the public, the bill’s supporters say.
On that account, Rooney, now beginning his second term in Congress, said he supports the measure because it’s “revenue neutral.”
“A revenue-neutral carbon fee is an efficient, market-driven incentive to move toward natural gas and away from coal, and to support emerging alternate sources of energy,” he said in a statement.
While most free-market economists would disagree that a redistributive tax is a “market-driven incentive,” Americans for Tax Reform, a limited government group, says the proposal is anything but revenue neutral.
“The proposed carbon tax is a gas tax and a tax on your electric bill. Worse, it increases automatically year after year so the politicians can raise your taxes without ever having to vote,” said Grover Norquist, president of ATR.
Although the Congressional Budget Office has yet to score the bill, a recent CBO report estimated a generic $25 per ton carbon tax bill, increasing at 2 percent annually, would cost $1.1 trillion over a decade.
Rooney’s bill would reach $25 per ton of carbon dioxide in year two and continue to increase in perpetuity.
The effects would not just be limited to carbon-dioxide emitters, according to ATR.
“The tax will be hidden in the price of all goods and services,” Norquist warned. “A hidden tax. A permanent tax. An uncontrolled tax that increases without end.”
The bill also empowers two intrusive federal agencies to enforce the legislative mandate: the Internal Revenue Service and the Environmental Protection Agency.
The EPA could impose “monitoring, reporting, and record-keeping requirements” on Americans, and conduct “investigations” and force “information collection.”
The IRS and EPA would have direct access to taxpayer money for what the bill calls “Administrative Expenses” and “Other Administrative Expenses,” while also involving the U.S. State Department.
“What could go wrong?” Norquist said sarcastically in a statement.
The anti-tax abuse group released a list of 13 instances where voters rejected similar tax, fee or euphemistic “dividend,” increases—which are even unpopular in so-called blue states.
In November, Washington State voters rejected a carbon tax for a second time in two years. A ballot measure known as Initiative 1631 went down in flames by a wide margin of 56-44.
The same month, South Florida GOP Rep. Carlos Curbelo pushed a carbon-emissions tax that would have increased the average Florida utility bill by $688 per year.
Voters rejected the proposal, and voted Curbelo out of office.