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Proposed Carbon Tax Would Crush Floridians and Our Thriving Economy

October 6, 2018 - 6:00am

Florida’s economy is booming. With the passage of tax reform and smart regulatory reforms, consumers have more money in their pockets to travel and Florida is a prime location. In fact, Florida tourism numbers reached a record high in the first quarter of 2018 and Florida’s economy recently topped $1 trillion. However, recent legislation co-sponsored by our own Republican Rep. Francis Rooney would hike all Americans’ gas prices and jeopardize Florida’s economy.

The legislation, introduced by Florida Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo, would replace the existing federal gas tax with a carbon tax. Immediately, gas prices would rise by 5 cents per gallon for all consumers and continue to increase. Electricity costs for families would also increase by an estimated $275 in 2020, according to the bill’s proponents.

Under the Trump Administration’s “All of the Above” energy policy, Floridians’ energy costs have dropped. The Curbelo-Rooney bill would reverse this progress and force Florida’s businesses and families to pay more for the energy they rely on. The bill would also create a Border Adjustment Tax on imported goods, which would create higher prices for a number of household products that we use every day.

Improving the environment is a novel goal for our lawmakers, but the Curbelo-Rooney bill offers little to no environmental benefit. With the bill’s stated goal of a 30 percent reduction in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, global temperatures would be approximately reduced by .003 degrees by the end of the century. Is a damaged economy and decreased quality of life for Floridians worth it?

Additionally, the carbon tax would give unprecedented regulatory authority to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Nineteen American manufacturing sectors, responsible for thousands of Florida jobs, would initially be subject to the carbon tax, but the EPA would have the power to determine which additional manufacturers are subject to the tax going forward. Seventy percent of revenue from the tax would be funneled into the Highway Trust Fund and the remaining revenue would go toward various government programs. This means the federal government would determine where your hard-earned money is invested… and it likely won’t be allocated back into our local community.

The carbon tax bill also establishes a moratorium on enforcing certain greenhouse gas emission regulations established under the Clean Air Act, but the moratorium expires in 2033 and will almost certainly be replaced by new regulations on emissions. Regulatory uncertainty like this is devastating to American businesses and manufacturers. After tax reform was passed, companies across Florida announced plans for expansion, new hires, facility improvements and wage increases, but regulatory uncertainty around additional unexpected costs would cause all of this economic investment to come to a screeching halt.

Rep. Rooney has traditionally supported pro-business policies, like tax reform, that have had immediate and positive impacts on the lives of hard-working Floridians. Unfortunately, this legislation would have the opposite impact, as the purpose of a carbon tax is to make energy that we all rely on, such as gas, diesel, coal and natural gas, more expensive.

Why Rep. Rooney would support a carbon tax that creates more taxes, more regulations and more government bureaucracy is perplexing to say the least. Rep. Rooney should withdraw his support for the carbon tax legislation and get back to working on policies that will improve the lives of hard working Floridians.

Barney Bishop III, president & CEO of Barney Bishop Consulting, LLC in Tallahassee.  He’s also the immediate past president & CEO of Associated Industries of Florida, and a former executive director of the Florida Democratic Party.  He can be reached at Barney@BarneyBishop.com

Comments

Good information Mr. B. I say we throw the leftists a bone and start a strictly voluntary tax of 1 nickle tossed in a mason jar for every time we fart. This voluntary initiative will take the place of all further attempts by the left to tax us on any and all climate change issues. The fart nickles will be earmarked to pay for one case of crying towels for George Soros and his lackey Andrew Gillum as their dreams for evil world domination will be forever over. We may also wish to collect our farts in zip-lock baggies, seal them up, and send those along with George's and Andrew's one and only case of crying towels. Any fart nickles left over will be earmarked to help homeless veterans. BTW have you noticed that as crazy as my post is I make a lot more sense than that crybaby Jerry (above) who left a rambling string of non-nonsensical leftist "talking points" punctuated by grammatically incorrect dots "....." ? Thanks again Mr. B.

Mr B the problem is you destroyed your own political party by running off all the moderates and libs (yes, the GOP once had libs), and you are left with the dregs. The dregs love the oil industry and lap up the nonsense that fossil fuels have no impact on our climate and it can be 1958 all over again. Climate deniers worst enemy isn't liberals....it's a science book.

Old Barney the paid shill for API, etc. First off we already pay 20% higher Federal taxes, $600B/yr in pollution, healthcare, military, etc higher costs...…………..Do you like paying 20% higher taxes for corporate welfare for FFs?...……...So let's call this what it is, a pollution tax so those who pollute, pay their full cost!...……... Can there be anything more fiscally conservative?...……...And pair it with a dividend, call tax and dividend, where the tax is rebated to those in the lower 80% tax brackets, making it revenue neutral if the fiscally conservative way to handle it, no?...………...The other side of the coin, RE that now costs 50% of FFs power, costs less!! ;^)…………...And EVs are costing the same as a similar class ICE car but only use 15% of the energy/mile that you can make cheaply at home. ………………..Can there be anything more fiscally conservative than that?...…………..Or does Barney, you? think paying 100% more for polluting fuels is smart? ……………….And RE, solar/ wind, etc make more jobs especially in Florida that imports it's energy when we have so much availably cheaply until Trump increased the tariffs, cost 30%, killing 23k jobs including my own...…………...As a real fiscal conservative I say to Barney, repubs,,, WTF! ……………….Have you no shame?

Nice, lots of facts and no degradation. Conservatives as well as progressives should like this bill. Why be against a .0003 reduction in warming, as the alternative is an increase, for what? So cars can be made to consume more fuel and have a cheaper price tag. Doesn't increased fuel efficiency save us $ in the long run? And what about the market signal the bill sends, spurring investment in sources of clean emission free energy, increasing the already fastest growing job sector in America (installing solar).

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