Editor’s note: Guest contributor David Kershner is a land conservation consultant who did research for Sightline’s book Tax Shift.
In case you haven’t noticed, environmental tax shifting is receiving national attention, thanks in part to Al Gore. Last month Gore gave a speech at New York University in which he proposed replacing the payroll tax with a carbon tax .
Last week Time Magazine columnist Joe Klein wrote that he asked Barack Obama “why [Obama] didn’t support an energy-tax married to tax relief for working Americans” in a recent speech to members of MoveOn.org. Klein refers to it as Gore’s “tax swap idea.” Obama responded later in the interview that, “It’s a neat idea. I’m going to call Gore and have a conversation about it. It might be something I would want to embrace.”
Meanwhile, former World Bank chief economist and Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz has been promoting tax shifting as part of his current book tour. In an interview on KUOW’s The Conversation about two weeks ago, Stiglitz lent his support to the idea and said that leaders of the Conservative Party in Britain are now talking about the benefits of lower taxes on labor and higher taxes on pollution.
From the October 25 issue of The Guardian:
On Conservative plans for ensuring how yet-to-be-defined [carbon reduction] targets were met, Mr Cameron reiterated that his own party was committed to rebalancing the system through a system of “taxes on things that are bad,” such as pollution, and [“]tax reductions on things that are good,” such as free parking for battery-operated cars.
Maybe tax shifting’s time has almost come?