Last week Governor John Kitzhaber joined with other political leaders in the Pacific Coast Collaborative to call for a carbon tax. This announcement coincided with the official opening of California’s “cap-and-trade” program for reducing carbon emissions.

It’s not clear why Gov. Kitzhaber thought it was a priority to fly to San Francisco to make this announcement. Apparently, he’s forgotten that the Oregon legislature considered a “cap-and-trade” program in 2009, and the bill couldn’t even get out of committee – despite the fact that Democrats had a supermajority that year. Like elected officials in most other states, Oregon legislators correctly determined that “cap-and-trade” is just a fancy way of saying “carbon tax,” and taxing energy would be enormously unpopular with voters.

The governor is also overlooking the fact that just last year, Oregon left the Western Climate Initiative, a multi-state coalition expressly established in 2007 to facilitate carbon regulation across the West and into Canada. Oregon departed for the same reason every other western state besides California did: Taxing carbon is a political loser. No one outside the far-left environmental movement cares.

The job of any governor is to be a leader. Calling for carbon regulations that have been rejected multiple times is the opposite of leadership. Surely Gov. Kitzhaber can find something to do that’s more relevant to Oregon’s future.

John A. Charles, Jr. is President and CEO of Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.


6 Responses to ““Pacific Coast Collaborative” Sends Kitzhaber Back to the Future”

  1. Fred Yates December 1, 2012 at 2:08 am #

    Just proves two old axioms

    “There is no fool like an old fool.”
    “Fish and repeat governors stink after three days.”

    Well one of them was old axiom, the other one should be.

    Global Warming, the need for the carbon tax, has proven to be a fraud — time and time again.

    “Well, the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they are ignorant, but that they know so much that isn’t so.” — Ronald Regan

    • David Appell December 2, 2012 at 6:09 pm #

      Re: hoax — So is it your position that carbon dioxide doesn’t absorb infrared radiation, or that the Earth doesn’t emit it?

  2. Richard Leonetti December 1, 2012 at 7:10 pm #

    A carbon tax that applies to everything makes some sense as long as the revenue raised is offset by a comparable income tax reduction. It is certainly smarter than any cap and trade scheme where the politicians set the caps and prices.

  3. Bob Clark December 3, 2012 at 6:56 am #

    Geez, one would think having spent the better part of a decade on the renewable energy government subsidization crusade, government would be thankful and let it go at that. But no, we must place an even bigger burden on the Oregon economy. Growing poverty should be the focus of Oregon governance, and not some abstract global problem outside the effective control of local government. But No, the Oregon democrat party leaders seek to retard Oregon’s economy with controls on low cost fuel supplies, placing Oregon at an economic disadvantage.

  4. Gary Thorsen December 22, 2012 at 4:15 am #

    Seems to be that going against the voter’s will is Kitzhaber’s stock in trade. When will Oregon voters get tired of this retread? He’s just finished another political end around on the gill net fishermen on the lower Columbia River. Time for a change…as in change of governor.

  5. Diane Hodiak June 30, 2014 at 12:38 pm #

    People who state that a carbon tax will hurt the economy are clearly uninformed. A 2013 study, Carbon Tax and Shift, done by Portland State University for the Oregon legislature determined that a carbon tax would create jobs. Nearly all occupational sectors would benefit, in the long term. (2014 REMI study prepared for Massachusetts)

    A carbon tax would fit into existing taxing structures, rather than inventing mechanisms to control industry.

    Most importantly, it is the only solution that gets us to the greenhouse gas emission level we need to be at according to the Kyoto Protocols. Cap and Trade may have some benefits IF you could control manipulation by big business and politicians. Cap and Trade is unlikely to create the GGE reduction needed.

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