Florida voters have stark choices up and down the ballot in the upcoming elections. With gubernatorial, senate and congressional races all on the ballot, our state will help determine the direction of the country. Florida has enjoyed historic growth over the past two years thanks, in part, to policies put in place by the current Congress and administration. But a new energy tax proposal, co-sponsored by Congressman Francis Rooney, goes against the conservative approach that has led to the booming economy.
The bill introduced would impose a national carbon tax. While marketed supporters as a market-based approach to policy, this bill would hike taxes on all consumers, expand the federal government’s power and create a regulatory nightmare.
All but six congressional Republicans signed onto a resolution by Congressman Steve Scalise earlier this year denouncing a carbon tax as detrimental to the economy.
This carbon tax would replace the federal gas tax with a national carbon tax set initially at $24 per ton of CO2 on gasoline and diesel, but the price would steadily increase each year. Immediately, gas prices would go up by 5 cents per gallon and continue to increase, and the average American’s energy expenses would increase by $275 in 2020.
The proposed carbon tax does not stop with higher gas prices and energy costs for consumers, it would also create a Border Adjustment Tax that would hike the price of a number of imported household items that consumers use. Additionally, nineteen manufacturing sectors would initially be subject to taxes for their emissions under the bill. More than350,000 Floridians are employed in manufacturing, and if the legislation goes into effect, companies that have increased wages and announced expansions as a result of tax reform could be forced to reevaluate these plans, or worse. While initially only impacting a select segment of manufacturers, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be charged with determining additional manufacturing sectors that will be subject to the tax, a potentially disastrous policy that allows the government to pick winners and losers.
The bill also establishes a rolling regulatory moratorium provision on greenhouse gas emissions, but it is temporary and will expire in 2033 with no set plan for what happens after that. Businesses rely on a set regulatory environment to make decisions on expansion, investment and hiring. This bill would make it extremely difficult for Florida businesses to plan for the future.
We have supported the large majority of Congressman Rooney’s policies related to taxation, but we do encourage him to reevaluate his position on this particular policy.
Stoney Smith is Chair Elect of Florida Petroleum Marketers Association