Fourth District Representative Bob Inglis has introduced legislation he says is a much better alternative to the “cap-and-trade” proposal to control carbon emissions.
Inglis, who serves on the House’s Energy and Environment Subcommittee, says the “Raise Wages, Cuts Carbon Act” calls for a reduction in payroll taxes for employers and employees of carbon-emitting companies, in exchange for an equal amount of revenue from a carbon tax, resulting in no change in taxes.
Inglis says the change would also stimulate technology. “What I’m looking for here is a jump in technology like the Internet or the personal computer. And the reason we got that rapid penetration of technology is because there were private companies out there making a buck. We can do that again with energy, if we correct the underlying market distortion where fossil fuels are allowed to belch and burn for free.”
Inglis says the new bill would not mean a massive tax increase like the Waxman cap-and-trade bill.
The cap-and-trade system, now being used in some European countries, also known as emissions trading, has economic incentives and would limit or “cap” the amount of pollutants that coal-fired plants and other industries could produce, but would allow industries to trade emission credits if they had performed well to control pollution, in effect taxing polluting companies. The cap-and-trade proposal has lost a lot of support in congress since the economy has taken a dive.
Inglis says the Waxman cap-and-trade proposal, which now has no Republican support, would also put carbon credit trading in the hands of Wall Street traders, and could hurt U.S. companies competing in a global economy.
Inglis says his proposal would allow investment in new fuels, by holding petroleum and other fossil fuels accountable for their pollution, taking away a free ride that distorts the market. He says South Carolina would benefit from that, with its investment in energy research. “Technologies I’d like to see us pursue in South Carolina, like hydrogen technology, all come near to us, and provide opportunities for entrepreneurs to marry investors now, rather than some date in the future when we’ve driven off the cliff by not having enough petroleum available to us.”