By Marie Waldron
Hold on to your wallet.
As your assemblywoman, I oppose tax increases, which is why I voted against extending cap and trade, a huge regressive tax on the working men and women of this state.
Under the program, caps are placed on greenhouse gas emissions by industries, such as oil refineries and energy producers, which pay fees on emissions that exceed those caps. Though the intent is to create incentives for industry to invest in new and cleaner technologies, the fees are usually passed through, largely removing the incentives by forcing consumers to pay the additional costs.
Like the recent gas tax increase and extensive changes to the Board of Equalization, last week’s cap and trade vote to extend the program’s expiration date from 2020 to 2030 was rushed through with little debate or input from those most affected, including California’s small businesses.
Large enterprises can increase their products’ costs to cover the fees, but smaller companies aren’t able to cope as easily. For example, cap and trade fees may eventually increase gasoline prices as much as 90 cents per gallon, literally driving up the cost of everything, including shipping costs and fuel surcharges on the goods we purchase.
These costs will be added to the 12 to 20 cent per gallon gas and diesel tax going into effect this November. On the other hand, smaller businesses will see out-of-state and foreign competitors that don’t have to worry about cap and trade undercut their prices, forcing them into bankruptcy or out of California.
Regrettably, California’s small businesses and its hard working taxpayers, many with the least ability to pay, will be saddled with years of massive tax increases as a result of last week’s cap-and-trade vote.
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