Nothing in PARC is coercive nor is intended to be. However I can see where as (if) it moves through the legislative process, pressure could build from various interests (particularly environmental) for coercive covenants be added to PARC. In general I would, of course, oppose, but have no control over, any such amendments. That would be up to the sponsors of the bill (of which I hope you'll be one) to resolve via the legislative process.
It's important to note that one very significant, if subtle, side benefit of PARC is to provide a new model for the government role and responsibility in environmental protection in that it provides opportunity, not prohibition; direction, not control; and facilitation, not coercion.
The basis for that claim is the proposed expenditure of two billion dollars a year in abatement . For example if stack scrubbers are added to a plant, jobs are created building, installing and maintaining the scrubbers. The same for containment ponds, sewer plant upgrades, or any other of the myriad of abatement projects PARC would finance.
The "thousands" estimate comes from dividing $27,000 (the median income in the US) into the two billion which yields roughly 75,000 direct jobs a year without adding any economic multipliers (generally 3 to 1) or job opportunities created by a cleaner environment (fishing, recreational, etc.). The counter argument, of course, is that an equivalent number of jobs are removed from the private sector via the tax. The discussion then quickly becomes circular.
The only response I can make is the abatement jobs are much more productive long term in that a healthier environment creates opportunities that are otherwise being lost (fishing is an obvious example but maybe also from shorter life spans and increased medical costs due to air pollution).
Let's just look a perspective using some actual figures. The median income is $27,000 of which nearly $11,000 is currently going to taxes (the 40% estimate). The National Fisheries Institute estimates retail seafood is a $40 billion a year industry (my basis for the $2 billion PARC tax revenues).
Dividing the $40 billion by roughly 100,000,000 income earners yields a $400 per year expenditure on retail seafood, which means the tax would cost each income earner $20 on average (a total tax increase of .00185%), or $200 over the life of PARC (sunsetted in 10 years). During that time that same income earner will have paid well over $100,000 in other taxes.
I will argue the ROI (Return On Investment) to the income earner from PARC taxes far outweighs nearly all other taxes he pays but, of course, we are getting into a very subjective area.
Further, in light of the numbers above and in light of the obvious, almost immediately visible, benefits PARC would bring, I refuse to believe Americans wouldn't support it if the case were presented fairly to them.
A - Certainly voluntary donations would be much more desireable. But that's just not possible. Let me put it in perspective for you. The TOP TEN Largest Environmental organizations in the US raise $600,000,000. Now that's a lot of money, but when you factor in the cost of raising it, plus the administrative staff to take care of it, you'd be lucky to end up with a third of that, which would only be about 10% of what the small seafood tax would raise.
So you see, it just isn't practical and just imagine asking GreenPeace, Sierra Club, Audobon et al to hand all their revenues over to polluters. (Now that would be a sight to see.)
There are possibilities however that may be worth exploring that would avoid a direct tax (perhaps surcharge would be a more palatable term than "tax"). Maybe some sort of mechanism could be implemented whereby retailers could donate 5% of their revenues to PARC in return for tax credits. It effectively does the same thing as a direct tax but without as much of the negative connotation of an outright tax. Taxing policies are not an area I am all that familiar with but I suspect such a mechanism would bring its own troubles with it.
It's well known that a single iota of something can affect an entity a billion times greater in size. I believe that nowhere is that more evident than in the oceans which are the eventual repository nearly all that awesome load of pollution.
Q - Why do we need yet another Government regulatory program?A -PARC is NOT a regulatory program. It's SOLE function is to provide a funding mechanism for funding projects that may (or not) be required by regulation.
As for it being just another Government program that will grow and take on a life of its own like so many do, three provisions guard against that:
And I don't think even the most radical Keynesian economist would advocate taxing baby food.
Yes and there always WILL be good causes. And if an outweighing benefit can be tied as closely to flowers and beef (especially if it's only going to be filet mignon that will be taxed) as the PARC tax then let's have it. Now whether PARC could be used as a taxing precedent for other food taxes is, of course, a danger but I suggest to you if they are as carefully tied to a specific goal as PARC is, it would not necessarily be a bad thing. Don't forget the goal of PARC is to drive DOWN the cost of seafood. And even that is only incidental to the real benefits - Cleaner air - Cleaner and more productive rivers and oceans - ...... for everybody, not just commercial fishermen.
As for the legislation being subverted, that's of course, always a danger but it cannot be allowed to be a reason for doing nothing. That kind of attitude is more dangerous to our country than even pollution is.
Cars already have a hefty pollution tax by other names (emission controls and mileage requirements). Gasoline is already taxed pretty good (some say not enough) and it would be politically difficult to divert any of that tax to finance a farmer's settlement pond (for example).
The seafood tax has a direct tie in with ocean pollution. The mandate is so broad (almost everything affects the oceans) PARC can reach a wide spectrum of problems that might be difficult to justify elsewhere.
I think it would be more difficult to *tie* a tax on cars or gasoline or chemicals to cleaning up ocean pollution, though certainly they are major contributors.
I suggest to you that pollution is already "taxing" seafood by making it more scarce hence expensive. Actually I will make the case that a small limited tax now will reduce the current "tax" burden a thousandfold in the decades down the road.
Take a look at the Hazardous Site Act for a prime example of what I mean.
I can see it financing a company to convert gasoline cars to electric power or natural gas.
I can see it financing containment ponds for paper manufacturers, farmers, chemical plants, power plants, etc.
I can see it financing environmental groups who want to buy sensitive wetlands, marshes, etc. to keep them from being developed (as long as they can show a reasonable repayment potential).
I can see financing runoff grading for highways, .......
I can see loans ranging from as little as one year to as long as 50 years with a whole range of interest rates, repayment amortization schedules, ....
If the banks should lose a little business here well we'll all are gonna have to give up little to straighten this mess out. There may be a way to involve the banks in some sort of administrative and collection role. (It's done here in Ocean County on a far smaller scale with a fisheries related program and quite successfully.)
I suspect the biggest resistance will come from the Security Provision (where the PARCloans have the highest claim, above any other mortgages, etc., except for maybe certain taxes), a provision I believe is necessary for guard against PARC getting embroiled in the types of situations the S&L industry went through in the 80's.
You use electricity, drive a car, wear clothes, have factories, ..... use goods from outside Utah - all of which had to cause pollution in one form or another, so you do contribute to the problem, even if only indirectly.
Further I would guess Utah doesn't have an abundance of seafood outlets so there wouldn't be much of a burden in terms of the tax. As far as any increased cost of goods due to pollution loan repayments adding to their cost, how can you argue with that? Those costs are the direct abatement cost for any pollution caused to make the goods.
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