Paul L. Caron

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Can State-Level Carbon Taxes Work?

Katelyn Nicasio (J.D. 2019, Indiana), Note, States Rise to the Front of Climate Legislation, But Can a State-level Carbon Tax Work?, 94 Ind. L.J. 751 (2019):

This Note uses two recent Massachusetts carbon tax proposals to discuss the costs and benefits of such state-level climate change legislation but discusses similar regional proposals as well. Although a state carbon tax poses some limitations and concern for the increased tax burden relative to other states that have not imposed a tax, the adoption of state carbon taxes represents an important advancement in climate policy. Part I overviews legislative tactics used to combat climate change thus far, including common policy responses, and the current attitude of federal legislators toward the global climate crisis. Part II introduces the advantages and common criticisms of a carbon tax policy and concludes that a carbon tax would be an effective policy option. Next, Part III discusses recent state carbon tax proposals, focusing on the efforts of northeastern states to enact the nation’s first carbon tax law. Two Massachusetts proposals, Senate Bill 1821 and House Bill 1726, are introduced to provide the basis for an analysis of state carbon taxes. Finally, Part IV discusses the possibility of effective state-level climate change policy and analyzes the costs and benefits of the Massachusetts state proposals.

This Note argues that states, especially population-dense states such as Massachusetts, should adopt state-level carbon taxes to reduce their respective share of carbon emissions and supply momentum to the climate change movement.

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It's interesting that a student is working on a real-world issue like this, while so many of us professors are spinning wheels

Posted by: Mike Livingston | Sep 7, 2019 3:26:07 AM

Will carbon taxes "work?" What exactly are the purpose of carbon taxes? If the goal is to transfer money from fuel users to the government or the government's favored recipients, I suppose you could say they work. If the goal is to impact global climate change, then they will never work. Even presupposing there is significant man-made global climate change, unless China and India come on board, nothing any one else does can have an impact.

Posted by: ruralcounsel | Sep 9, 2019 3:54:53 AM

State-level carbon taxes will work quite well. They'll demonstrate the folly of the idea to the rest of us.

Posted by: Michael W. Perry | Sep 9, 2019 10:19:45 AM