Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Realigning Priorities with a Carbon Surtax

Today I introduced a Carbon Surtax Resolution as a way of reaffirming my commitment to the environment. My plan targets our energy taxing efforts on the fuels that are most destructive to the environment while allowing us to continue to fund our energy conservation and greenhouse gas reduction goals for the future.

The Carbon Surtax would be applied in a graduated manner with the dirtiest fuels being taxed at the highest rates and the cleanest fuels being taxed at the lowest rates.

With Montgomery County residents and businesses tightening their belts in the face of increased State income and sales taxes, increased gas prices and a proposed property tax hike, there are some who would say that now is not the time to ask residents for more. I agree.

My plan would result in about $11 million in revenues for the County while costing the average homeowner less than $10 for the entire year. I am working hard to lower the County Executive’s proposed 7 ½ cent proposed property tax so that, essentially, we can keep ourselves on track with environmental preservation without doing harm to residents’ pocketbooks.

I am not recommending new programs to be funded by the Carbon Surtax right now. Rather, I am suggesting we will realign our revenue structure to be more consistent with our priorities. By placing our tax burden on energy consumption rather than real property, we give people more control over their own obligation, and we pave the way for future revenue to pay for some of our most important conservation and efficiency initiatives, such as the Clean Energy Rewards program, free Ride On trips on code red days and tree planting programs.

To learn more, click on the links to the right. I look forward to your guidance on this issue.

1 comment:

Scott said...

Dear Nancy:

More taxes and for what?

Try incentives. Low interest loans for insulating older houses, window replacement, switching from oil to gas heat, solar energy tax credits.

Many houses in Montgomery County built before 1970 have little or no insulation , single pane windows, and oil heat. There are no incentives to remodel them to be energy efficient.

You might look into abolishing some of the impediments the County has in place which prevent using more energy efficient technologies, such as restrictions on wells. The wells are necessary for hydronic heat pumps.

I note that the Council was quick to further tighten energy requirements on the new home building industry. The real energy hogs are the existing houses. We will need to do more that install energy efficient light bulbs to solve this problem.