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Upcoming bill would tax tech industry

January 4, 2018

Oregon Democrats outline 2018 carbon pricing plan

Oregonians For Food and Shelter

Oregon lawmakers this week released an overview of a carbon cap and pricing plan they want the Legislature to pass during the six-week session that starts in February.

It’s based on a bill that Democrats introduced the day before wrapping up a longer session earlier this year. Sen. Michael Dembrow of Portland and Rep. Ken Helm of Beaverton oversaw work groups that refined the concept in recent months.

The two Democrats outlined features that they say are in two drafts of the bill, one to be introduced in the House and one in the Senate. They expect to make the bills public on Jan. 8.

A group pushing for the plan, Renew Oregon Action Fund, had estimated large polluters would pay the state $1.4 billion per biennium under an earlier version of the plan. That would be a huge influx of money, given the state’s two-year general fund budget is around $21 billion.

But Dembrow said the latest versions would phase in some of the penalties and as a result raise less money. “Consequently, the $700 million (which assumed no free allowances for anyone) figure will turn out to be an estimate that’s way too high, at least initially,” Dembrow said.

A group pushing for the plan, Renew Oregon Action Fund, had estimated large polluters would pay the state $1.4 billion per biennium under an earlier version of the plan. That would be a huge influx of money, given the state’s two-year general fund budget is around $21 billion.

But Dembrow said the latest versions would phase in some of the penalties and as a result raise less money. “Consequently, the $700 million (which assumed no free allowances for anyone) figure will turn out to be an estimate that’s way too high, at least initially,” Dembrow said.

According to the overview, the bills will require the state to spend a large portion of the revenue on projects in “communities most impacted by climate change” to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or help those communities prepare for the effects of climate change.

Another chunk of money would be available to boost “carbon sequestration” and “heightened resiliency” on forestland, rangeland and other areas. Dembrow said an example of what the money might pay for is “anything we could do to promote forest health, resist forest fires through thinning, prescribed burns.”

There’s also evidence supporters are trying to avoid opposition from Oregon’s tech industry, which includes some large polluters. The Senate version of the plan is supposed to exempt fluorinated gases used by the semiconductor industry through 2025, because “there are currently no technological alternatives,” according to the summary. The bills will also include exemptions for certain “trade-exposed businesses” that could move out of state to avoid regulations, although Dembrow declined to say what industries will ultimately qualify.

  
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Bob Clark January 4, 2018

This whole bill is jibe. The state government is inept at Healthcare, inept in administering past attempts at environment programs such as the Business Energy Tax Credit program (so bad it is now defunct), and inept at keeping the Public Employee Retirement System from going into insolvency; and yet it is going to launch yet another big new program inflating the ranks of future public employee retirees drawing even more on PERS.
Oregon State government is a disaster under the Democrat Party regime bought and paid for the public employee unions sucking up the existing largess of state taxpayer monies while delivering poor results.
California’s cap and trade program is mostly just a government employment program, as the state has let businesses continue to get exemptions because they would otherwise leave for a red state (they call it “leakage”). You may get leakage in Oregon just by taking up this bill and discussing it.

Paul January 4, 2018

The same party that controls this state that has done such a great job in Chicago. What can we expect from them?

Richard January 5, 2018

Are there any groups fighting this legislation?

So, “Renew Oregon Action Fund had estimated large polluters would pay the state $1.4 billion per biennium under an earlier version of the plan”

They believe carbon, the building block of all life on the planet, is a pollutant. This is the sort of thinking that needs to be turned around. Despite Massachusetts v. EPA, carbon is not a pollutant. This is all ideologically driven. Renew Oregon Action Fund did sound pretty excited about the $1.4 bucks though.

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