Legislators are looking at a new "carbon tax" with great interest, which can only be bad news for the rest of us.
Much of the reason for that enthusiasm stems from the idea that a tax on carbon would be revenue-neutral, meaning that whatever the state collected from taxing various forms of energy would ultimately be returned to members of the public and businesses through means such as lower income and business taxes.
Sure, that's the ticket! They'll make you pay even more for energy than you already do, but then they'll turn right around and give you that cash back by lowering your income taxes! Hey - you interested in some view property, by any chance?
There are just a few kinks to be worked out, such as the fact that low-income people spend a significantly greater percentage of their limited funds on energy, while the folks out in Bethany pay only around 4-5% on their energy consumption. And presumably, that vaunted "lower income tax rate" won't apply to Washington residents who work in Oregon, which means that Oregon will have to generate some additional paperwork in order to collect the higher rate from them. There's also the question of whether or not such a structure would even be legal; a conundrum with which we've become all too familiar over the years, as Oregon tries to tax certain pensioners only to be dragged into court, slapped repeatedly about the face, and ordered to repay the extorted funds.
It'll probably be easier for the Democratics to simply implement their "carbon tax", cut the income tax rate for a year, then come back to the citizens, saying "Well, we tried". In any case, even if they were able to reduce your income tax rate - it won't stay reduced for very long.
Business costs are headed upward again as well, meaning that you'll get to pay more for goods and services: Oregon's minimum wage jumps to $9.25 next year, and the folks who pushed mandatory paid sick leave onto businesses in Portland and Eugene are mounting an intense lobbying effort in Salem to force all businesses in the state to give their employees paid sick leave.
Meanwhile, back in River City, Portland City Councilor Dan Salzman wants a permanent taxing district that will be, in keeping with that time-tested Portland mantra, For The Children™. Apparently dissatisfied with the fact that the levy's been renewed every five years since 2002, Dan wants it cast in stone. Maybe he's just concerned that folks might one day grow tired of the mantra and tired of the constant increases in Portland taxes and fees, and so at some point they might vote not to renew. So he's lobbying the Democratics down in Salem, hoping to get his "Children's District". Oh, and having successfully pushed most of the poor people out of North and Northeast Portland eastward into Multnomah County, he wants the taxing district to be county-wide.
He wants the scope to enlarge from Portland to across Multnomah County. "We have a lot of poor, hungry children living east of 205," he says.
Well, yeah, Dan - your gentrification policies put them there.
Yet another reason to move out of Portland/Multnomah County.