Low Carbon Fuels - Rising Costs
Lengthy Discussion on the House Floor
This is an email I sent to a constituent who was urging me to support the Low Carbon Fuel Bill - SB 324. I felt I could share it with you and explain some of the issues with SB 324.
Thank you for writing - thought you might like some additional information regarding this bill.
As you stated this bill would - among other things -
"require a 10% reduction in the carbon intensity of most fuels by 2025" -it is a good concept - and a goal to reach for, however the question should be - is this good legislation, does it truly help Oregon and Oregonians now and into the future - what else is at risk or not at risk if we pass this legislation.
Often more times than not, the "what then?" question is not asked often enough - and this is the case with this legislation.
Here is some additional information you may find interesting.
First, this would be the first time in the history of the state when we would be instituting a fuel tax for something other than bridges and roads.
Secondly, by not calling it a tax and putting an emergency clause on the bill, we are removing the two thirds vote requirement and the ability of the people to refer which is a principle we have operated under for years. Oregon has always had a requirement in the Constitution that tax increases require a two-thirds majority vote of the Legislature for passage - once that law is ignored
The third point I want to make is the most important, and that is the transportation package we are currently working on. The reality is the current level of funding, both from state and federal sources, is not enough to even keep up with maintaining the status quo of our system. To get to an adequate level of funding is going to require an increase in the gas tax, among other adjustments. This is an immediate need and should be a higher priority than SB 324.
We know with a high level of certainty that if SB 324 passes the transportation package will be referred to the voters and defeated. The immediate needs of our state and citizens should be our highest priority, especially when the need is as great as it is in this case.
And one other point - It is my understanding that NONE of the monies raised from this tax increase stay in the state of Oregon - and in fact most of the monies go to foreign entities - so Oregon and Oregonians will see no positive results from the passage of this legislation at this time.
Are you willing to pay approximately $.20 more per gallon with all of the monies going out of state?
Well meant legislation at the wrong time is just not good legislation. The circumstances under which bills are proposed AND the "what will happen then" questions need to all be taken into consideration when we consider such far reaching laws.
Presented on the House Floor today were several great arguments against this legislation. How will this type of legislation affect our food bills - yes our food? How will it affect our housing and our heating and cooling? If you or a member of your family lives on the edge - you will be affected dramatically. Perhaps you would be interested in checking out the give and take regarding this legislation - SB 324.
Just observing - do you watch the Floor Sessions?