Jeff Flake Proposes Bill To Increase Taxes To Solve Global Warming

For someone who signed the Americans for Tax Reform’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge and who says on his website “[t]he last thing this economy needs is a tax hike,” this seems like an interesting bill to be introducing:

WASHINGTON — Reps. Bob Inglis of South Carolina and Jeff Flake of Arizona on Wednesday became the first Republican lawmakers to introduce legislation imposing a carbon tax on producers and distributors of fossil fuels.

The bill, co-sponsored by Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski of Illinois, would set a tax of $15 a ton of carbon dioxide produced in its first year in effect, with the tax rising to $100 a ton over three decades.

James Rosen/McClatchy Newspapers

Arizona would be hit especially hard with Rep. Flake’s new tax because Arizona relies heavily on carbon dioxide emitting coal and natural gas power plants to produce our electricity.  According to a recent editorial in the Arizona Republic by the presidents of APS, TEP, and the Salt River Project:

[A]t $20 a ton [of carbon dioxide], the costs to our operations would amount to a greater than 10 percent increase in your price of electricity. Some experts have predicted the price could reach $75 per ton, which could result in more than a 40 percent price increase for our customers.

To be fair, Rep. Flake claims his bill will be “revenue neutral” because it supposedly reduces payroll taxes by an amount equal to the new carbon tax. However, count this blogger as skeptical of the revenue neutral claim.  Congress has passed many bills that were supposedly “revenue neutral” but ended up raising taxes. Furthermore, because of Arizona’s reliance on coal and natural gas for electrical power, Arizonans will end up paying more in higher utility bills than we would save in reduced payroll taxes.


  1. Conservative environmentalist says

    Here is my honest to goodness question, as somebody who is undecided about these things.

    The environment is something that can’t be parceled out; we necessarily all share it. Given our conservative point of view on property rights, shouldn’t the public be entitled to some kind of renumeration when somebody uses something that we all share?

    Even if you deny the existence of global warming, remember that nobody should deny that these emissions cause nasty, smelly, health hazardous pollution.

  2. AZ Mesan says

    A tax is a tax is a tax!!

    Global warming is a hoax. The more CO2 there is the better off our plants are that produce the air we breath.

    The biggest producer of global warming is the sun. Any scientist will tell you that the sun goes through warming and cooling cycles. When it warms it produces more heat when it cools it produces less heat.

    Jeff I think you need to go back to school and take your science classes again.

  3. Carl Hay says

    What else do you expect from Flake?

    He’s for amnesty, open borders and guest workers, and is opposed to enforcing existing laws against hiring illegal aliens.

    Of course he’s for more and higher taxes.

    Basically he’s just William Proxmire reincarnated and haunting the people of Arizona.

    We need an exorcist now.

  4. Mike Norton says

    If you read the entire bill Flake combines the idea with an offsetting decrease in payroll taxes. There would be no new costs and no increase in energy costs.

    A better summary is at Coyote Blog:

  5. Veritas Vincit says

    Global Warming is a hoax based on a flawed computer model. Facts are, global temperatures have been decreasing for the past 7 years straight.

    The only “experts” proclaiming Global Warming are those who directly benefit from “fighting” it. The biggest winner from the climate issue being of course, Al Gore.

  6. Flake needs to go. I live in his district, and am always trying to get people to look at the whole picture with this guy. Anti-pork is great, but is more than offset by his love for illegals, amnesty and “guest workers”. I always vote for the Libertarian in his races as my little protest . . .

  7. Oberserve says

    This one more “I’m raising your taxes but I’m not raising your taxes, so can’t you see that I’m really a conservative/free market principles guy?”

    Pathetic, Flake.

  8. pragmatist says

    AZ Mesan,

    If Carbon is so wonderful I have an idea for you. Why don’t you go load up your family in your car, close the garage for a few hours, and come back and post on Sonoran Alliance?

  9. Antifederalist says

    I couldn’t care less about revenue-neutral. This reflects that Flake has bought into the junk science of global warming. Couple this betrayal with being pro-amnesty, wanting to cede Congress’ control of the purse-strings, and his yes vote for ENDA, I wonder how he can justify being a “conservative.” I personally like Jeff, but I think he’s now done more than enough damage to the nation.

  10. Read conservative Michael Gerson’s column in yesterday’s Washington Post:

    “Take the environment. For many Americans, especially the young, concern about carbon emissions and climate disruption is no longer a conviction; it is a value. It is possible that climate change skeptics — the dominant Republican voices — have uncovered a vast scientific delusion, like the belief in phlogiston or phrenology. But given the compelling evidence from glaciology, botany and marine biology, this seems unlikely.

    “Republicans have distinctive contributions to make on climate policy. They might support a carbon tax instead of a cumbersome cap-and-trade system. They should insist that all revenue gained from a carbon tax or the sale of pollution permits go back to the American people in lower taxes. But the main policy choice is binary: Should a cost be imposed on carbon emissions? If Republicans generally say no, they will not be viewed as belonging to an environmental party.”

    Flake’s proposal is completely consistent with Gerson’s thesis and could give Republicans some credibility on envornmental issues. It’s too bad he’s being attacked.

  11. Taxing CO2 creation when it doesn’t do any real harm will distort the economy and cause economic loss even if the all the tax changes are revenue neutral. There will also be an effective increase in the price of energy.

    The post from Pragmatist shows why getting the government involved in this process is a mistake. He is probably as smart as the average Congressman on this issue, and would cause a lot of damage because of a lack of knowledge. Carbon monoxide is a poison that comes from car exhaust. Carbon dioxide is a harmless byproduct. Emissions reduction systems try to convert “bad” emissions to harmless carbon dioxide and water vapor. Plants thrive with carbon dioxide and use it during photosynthesis to grow and release oxygen as a byproduct.

    Of course, the only people silly enough to try out Pragmatist’s suggestion with the family car in the garage would probably have an electric car, anyway. 🙂

  12. Iris Lynch says

    PS I guess I missed the applicable paragraph in the Constitution.

  13. This doesn’t sound like the Jeff Flake that I voted for.

    You know a little while back he sent out a letter talking about how he is kind of like the new maverick in Congress.

    If this is the maverick-y stuff he was talking about, he can keep it. I’m done with mavericks. We need a CONSERVATIVE! And a CONSERVATIVE right now would be undoing taxes and simplifying the tax code, not proposing new ones in new ways. Uh, I’m feeling nauseous.

  14. I am running against Mr. Flake in the primary next year. I have the 6th district endorsement of the Tea Party Patriots and the GOP county chairman.

    I am a true conservative and not a politician. Three planks, Free market, fiscal and personal responsibility, and limited government. In short, FREEDOM.

    Contact me if you are interested in taking back OUR government.


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