Letters: A case for a carbon fee
Regarding Paris Achen's "'Cap and invest' bill takes shape" (Dec. 20): As an environmentally conscious Oregonian, I'm in favor of exploring any measure that addresses climate change, but research indicates that a carbon fee would be more efficient and effective than a cap-and-invest policy.
Furthermore, given concerns about the negative impact of federal tax reform on working- and middle-class Oregon families, the most prudent step that the state could take would be to implement a revenue-neutral carbon-fee-and-dividend program.
Under such a model, carbon dioxide emissions would incur a per-ton fee that gradually increased over time — incentivizing the use and development of clean energy technology, while allowing businesses time to adjust.
Both cap-and-invest and carbon-fee systems are expected to result in the passing on of increased energy costs to consumers. But a carbon-fee-and-dividend plan would rebate net collected fees equally to households in order to offset higher costs of essentials such as home heating and transportation.
Such a system would be financially progressive, because the equally divided rebates would be a greater percentage of working-class families' income than upper-class families' — and because wealthier households have larger carbon footprints on average.
Because a fee-and-dividend system is revenue-neutral, it could be championed by conservatives and progressives alike.
While it seems logical to invest carbon revenue directly into clean technologies, the inefficiency and potentially regressive nature of cap-and-invest systems make them far less desirable than a carbon fee.
Legislators need only look as far as British Columbia for an excellent model: According to a five-year review, the province's revenue-neutral carbon tax has resulted in a drop in per capita fossil-fuel consumption of nearly 20 percent, even as its economic growth has kept pace with the rest of the country. Our state could benefit greatly from a similar win-win proposition with bipartisan appeal.
No on Measure 101
I recommend that voters vote No on Measure 101. The Legislature filled this with so much deception that I am not able to comply with the word limit to describe all of its faults. Vote no. Taxing your health insurance is just one bad thing. Taxing certain hospitals? Other hospitals paid off legislators; they skate. The tax is retroactive. Should this measure pass, the government will come after you for more cash. Most offensive: they claim the tax will "stabilize" insurance premiums. That is a lie. Vote no.