DAVE & DUJANOVIC

Activists campaign for a state-wide carbon tax in Utah

Apr 22, 2019, 2:34 PM | Updated: Apr 23, 2019, 9:33 am
Carbon Tax...
A new proposal would replace taxes at the grocery store with taxes on pollution. (Photo: Shutterstock)
(Photo: Shutterstock)

Utah needs tax reform, lawmakers say. Gov. Gary Herbert and the members of the legislature have been scrambling to balance the state’s budget, but a major problem has met them every step of the way: where is the money going to come from?

So far, our lawmakers have been pushing toward covering filling in the fiscal gap with increased taxes on food bought at the grocery store – but one group of activists has a different solution. They want to cut Utah’s food tax completely and, in its place, introduce a carbon tax that would target heavy polluters instead.

The Clean the Air Carbon Tax Act

Fuel Tax carbon tax

The proposed gas tax would charge a 10-cent tax per gallon at fuel pumps. (Photo: Shutterstock)

The “Clean the Air Carbon Tax Act“, as it’s called, was drafted up by a group calling themselves the “Clean the Darn Air Campaign.”

Their proposal is to fill in Utah’s tax revenue gaps by requiring companies and individuals to pay for the use of coal, dyed diesel fuel, fuel gas, and for several electricity sources while offering grants for companies that can cut their emissions down.

It’s not the first time the idea’s been proposed. Yoram Bauman, one of the chief sponsors on the bill, previously tried to get the idea passed in Washington State, while Rep. Joel Briscoe tried to get a nearly identical bill passed through Utah’s House of Representatives. Both men were unsuccessful; but this time, they’re planning on taking the idea directly to the voters.

The group has filed an application to have their carbon tax proposal appear as a ballot initiative in the 2020 election. They’re hoping that, even if they can’t get lawmakers to support it, they’ll be able to get the public behind it, instead.

That, however, may be a challenge. The group will need to collect 115,000 signatures in support of the idea by next year to get on the ballot, is definitely going to affect people’s wallets. The group is expecting that, if passed, the bill will introduce new taxes that include:

  • $11 per metric ton of carbon dioxide
  • $0.10 per gallon of gasoline
  • About $0.01 per kilowatt-hour of electricity

That, some Utah lawmakers believe, is going to make it hard for the proposal to win popular support.

“I don’t think this stands a chance,” Sen. Todd Weiler said, appearing on KSL Newsradio’s Dave & Dujanovic. “No other state’s done this. Not even the most liberal states.”

Weiler stands by the food tax idea, which he views as a more realistic way to solve Utah’s tax revenue struggles.

That idea, however, is precisely what the carbon tax is trying to stop. The proposal specifically highlights the food tax as one of its targets, promising to put 80 percent of all revenues earned through to carbon tax toward ensuring that there are no sales taxes on our purchases at the grocery stores. The other 20 percent, they say, will go toward rural economic development and programs to improve local air quality.

The campaign believes that the carbon tax would raise $75 million in the first year alone if the bill is passed.

Weiler, however, remains unconvinced that that day will ever come.

“We may be here in 10 or 20 or 30 years,” he says, “but I don’t think we’re going to be here next year.”

More to the story

Sen. Todd Weiler joined the Dave & Dujanovic show to discuss this idea and explain why he believes a food tax is the better option.

If you missed his analysis live on the air, you can still catch what he had to say on the Dave & Dujanovic podcast.

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon on KSL Newsradio. Users can find the show on the KSL Newsradio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.

affordable care act

Today’s Top Stories

Dave & Dujanovic

Utah disaster funding earthquake study...
Simone Seikaly

What Utah can expect from federal funding after a disaster like Ian

What can those in Utah expect from federal disaster funding when a natural disaster on par with Hurricane Ian hits home?
3 days ago
u of u student arrested...
Waverly Golden

Other paths to consider when thinking about attending college

Following the student loan forgiveness announcement, college is on everyone's mind. Dave Noriega takes an in-depth look at the alternatives.
7 days ago
Utah Democrats Gene Davis...
Simone Seikaly

Attorney for Sen. Gene Davis says Davis won’t resign from the Utah Senate

The Salt Lake County Democratic Party asked for Davis to resign immediately because of allegations of sexual harassment made against him.
10 days ago
ovarian cancer...
Simone Seikaly

A new chance for a fighting chance against ovarian cancer

What may be most alarming about ovarian cancer is that the symptoms are there, but they are quiet and can be mistaken for something else.
11 days ago
...
Curt Gresseth

Former U.S. Attorney for Utah talks about what FBI can take off your cellphone

A legal expert joined Dave and Dujanovic to discuss how the FBI can obtain evidence of a crime from a cellphone.
15 days ago
centerville arson fire...
Curt Gresseth

What’s behind random acts of violence in Utah?

What's behind a recent spate of random violence in Uta?. A sleeping couple at home in West Valley City is stabbed by an intruder. A stranger enters a home with three elderly people in Centerville and burns it down. Greg Skordas, KSL legal analyst breaks down what he thinks is motivating young people to commit random acts of violence.
16 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
large group of friends tohether in a park having fun...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

What differentiates BYU’s MBA program from other MBA programs

Commitment to service is at the heart of BYU’s MBA program, which makes it stand out among other MBA programs across the country.
a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Activists campaign for a state-wide carbon tax in Utah