By Patrick Gleason – Re-Blogged From Forbes
AUGUSTA, Maine — The beginning of March brings bad news for carbon tax supporters, who have been successful in getting legislation to impose the regressive tax introduced at the federal and state levels, but not in getting it enacted, not even in left-leaning, Democratic-run states that should be most inclined to welcome this policy.
A February 28 Maine House Committee on Energy Utilities and Technology hearing on legislation that would impose the nation’s first statewide carbon tax ended with Representative Deane Rykerson (D-Kittery), the legislator sponsoring the bill, announcing that he will pull his proposal and will instead push for a “Carbon Pricing Study Group” that will explore the topic and issue recommendations at a later date. The committee subsequently voted on March 7 against reporting Rykerson’s carbon tax bill out of committee.
In the hours-long hearing on Representative Rykerson’s bill, 60 Maine residents testified in opposition to the proposed carbon tax, explaining the harm that the regressive tax would do to Maine families and employers. Only one person testified in favor of the bill. This strong display of public opposition to a carbon tax was instrumental in killing the bill in committee.
By reacting early to raise awareness about the destructive carbon tax that was being proposed and exposing the corrupt kickbacks and special interests it was going to be paying for, we were able to gather men and women of all ages from every corner of the state to march on the capital and send a clear message to lawmakers that the people of Maine stand united against new and useless taxes the would have crushed both Maine’s economy as well as our middle and low income families,” says Waterville Mayor Nick Isgro, explaining how opponents of the carbon tax managed to come out victorious despite every branch of state government being under Democratic control.
Because there is “gridlock at the federal level,” writes Governing Magazine’s Elizabeth Daigneau, “activists are focusing their attention on states and cities where action on climate change seems more likely.”
Though green activists are taking their proposals for new taxes and regulations to the state level, they have been unable to get a carbon tax enacted, even in state legislatures where progressives hold the most sway. Maine becomes the most recent blue state to reject a carbon tax. Legislation to impose a carbon tax has also been introduced in Vermont, Rhode Island, Hawaii, Oregon, and other states, but all have declined to implement one. Americans for Tax Reform has put together a timeline of all the carbon tax proposals that have been rejected both in the U.S. and abroad.
Ballot measures to enact the nation’s first statewide carbon tax were rejected by Washington State voters in both 2016 and 2018, the same elections that Evergreen State voters gave Democrats total control of state government and awarded the state’s 12 electoral votes to Hillary Clinton.
Though carbon tax proponents can’t convince even one left-leaning blue state to institute a carbon tax, Congressman Francis Rooney (R-Fla.) and Democrats in Congress still think it makes sense to push legislation that would impose a national carbon tax. Republican control of the U.S. Senate means that a carbon tax has no chance of being enacted federally, at least for the next two years.
As Mayor Isgro sees it, the outcome in Maine this month should give hope to blue state taxpayers who are concerned about the more immediate threat of a state carbon tax.
As lawmakers around the country try to bring this nefarious scheme to their home states, citizens must not only be vigilant but also recognize the power of people when they set aside party differences to stand united against government overreach,” adds Mayor Isgro, who also serves as vice chairman of the Maine Republican Party. “There’s an old saying that says ‘as Maine goes, so goes the nation.’ Lawmakers in other states trying to impose these draconian new taxes should be on notice.”
Patrick Gleason is vice president of state affairs at Americans for Tax Reform, and a senior fellow at the Beacon Center of Tennessee. Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PatrickMGleason