Thursday, October 30, 2008

Carbon tax Re-revisited - the $47 EP

Excuse the obscure Metallica reference. And how I forced the subject into the structure of the reference imperfectly (What does EP have to do with the tax?).

Think the BC Liberals' carbon tax is a great environmental plan that is fair and aimed at reducing carbon consumption? Apparently it's also disproportionally aimed at lower-income Canadians, who will end up paying more as the scheme progresses: $47 more than they'll get back on their taxes by the third year of the program. Meanwhile "those in the top income group will end up an average of $311 better off in year three."

As my friend just wrote to me: "Could it be that: Environmental policy - class analysis = poor environmental policy?" Indeed.

And this has just started to bother me: How does a consumptive tax that is refunded on your taxes curb consumption? I thought the point was to increase the cost so that people would use less, but if we all know we're getting the money back on our taxes, why will we consume less?

There is a place for prohibitive consumptive taxes, or consumptive taxes that are used to fix the problems created by the consumption. This one, however, just doesn't make sense.

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