Here in the Sunshine State, we pay almost $200 a year more for electricity than the average American household. And with gas prices at a four-year high, working families are struggling to make ends meet.
Affordable gas and electricity are essential to our everyday lives, but higher costs challenge us to keep our homes cool and to buy the gas we need to drive to and from work or drop our kids off at school. We shouldn’t encourage federal policies that have a tendency to increase those costs – for example, the carbon tax bill. Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) recently introduced legislation that would represent a huge tax increase on families in Florida and across the United States.
This legislation would replace the federal gas tax with a carbon tax on the vast majority of the energy we use, immediately raising gas prices by a nickel and increasing them even more every year. Additionally, even supporters of the bill concede that the average American family’s yearly energy expenses would skyrocket by at least $275 in 2020. This tax would not only affect the prices of gas, diesel, and electricity; it would create a Border Adjustment Tax on imported goods, meaning it would also increase the cost of many of the imported household items that we use every day.
The legislation would give the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) new power and authority, since the EPA could determine which American manufacturers would be forced to pay the new tax on energy. The target list under the bill already includes more than 20 industries, ranging from producers of cement and glass, to steel and aluminum, to chemicals and electronics. Once again, the end result would be higher costs for American families.
Seventy percent of the funds from this potential new tax will be dumped into the Highway Trust Fund, while the federal government will have the power to determine where the rest of the revenue should be allocated. Instead of the money being distributed back into our communities’ roads, it will go towards a variety of special-interest government programs. The legislation would also create extreme regulatory uncertainty for our manufacturers and businesses and give the federal government the power to pick winners and losers amongst industries.
Energy touches every aspect of our lives and is critical to our economy, our standard of living, and our very survival. Rep. Curbelo’s carbon tax would increase our energy prices year after year. Floridians don’t want or deserve higher energy costs, and our elected representatives shouldn’t inflict them on us. As Election Day nears, I urge readers to tell your elected officials to oppose new energy taxes that would harm Florida’s working families and businesses.
Ned Bowman is the Executive Director of the Florida Petroleum Marketers Association