Letter: Questions about carbon tax
One of the major goals of Carbondale’s proposed carbon tax is reducing dirty energy use. My home is already energy neutral in regard to electricity via solar panels we own in the Clean Energy Collective’s arrays. I will happily pay the carbon tax on my gas usage, but I think it is unfair to be taxed on behalf of a goal I’ve already achieved by spending many thousands on solar panels.
After first reading about the proposed tax several months ago, I spoke to Erica Sparhawk of CLEER about this and she told me the city will give me a simple form to submit annually, allowing me to receive a refund for the extra tax on my electric bill. Fair enough, but unfortunately, I see nothing in the proposed ordinance or anywhere on the city’s website making this policy official.
Moreover, proponents assure us they will institute measures to mitigate the effect of this tax on low-income people, but again, there is nothing specific in the ordinance or on the city’s website telling us how this will be done.
In principle, I think this tax is a good thing. We should tax dirty energy (like the gas I burn) and use the proceeds to develop clean energy (like my solar-generated electricity). It is likely easier for small, progressive communities like Carbondale to institute innovative measures, providing experience that leads to larger communities following suit.
But the two concerns cited above have been obvious since the measure was conceived, much less proposed. They should have been effectively addressed by now. If the city does address these concerns with more than verbal assurances before the election, I will vote for this tax. If it does not, I will vote against it and invite the city to resubmit it in November in a form that does not make me pay twice and helps low income people to cope with its impact.
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