Taxpayer Groups Coalescing Against Carbon Tax Proposal

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter
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Conservative and anti-tax groups from around the world joined together to speak against a carbon tax bill that has been introduced in Congress.

“We have done extensive polling on a carbon tax. It all sucks,” read a quote displayed on a large poster during a Monday press conference. That quote, uttered by longtime Democratic strategist John Podesta, proved emblematic of the overall theme of the meeting organized by Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform.

An international coalition of anti-tax and free-market groups organized a press conference to garner opposition to carbon pricing legislation that has been introduced in the House of Representatives. Americans for Tax Reform was joined by Canadians Taxpayer Federation, Australian Taxpayers Alliance, Hispanic Leadership Fund, Competitive Enterprise Institute and other groups. Their aim was to shoot down Florida GOP Rep. Carlos Curbelo’s carbon tax bill before it was too late — something ATR spokesman Grover Norquist likened to a getting a colonoscopy before it was too late. (RELATED: Carbon Tax Bill Hits US Congress As Canadians Revolt Against Trudeau’s Climate Policies) 

The representatives from Canada and Australia detailed how much a political death kneel carbon pricing was for politicians in their home countries.

“Carbon taxes are sure election losers,” said Christine Van Geyn, the Ontario director of Canadians Taxpayer Federation.

Van Geyn detailed how carbon pricing is in the process of repeal in her home province of Ontario and is receiving pushback in other provinces, adding that former Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s cap-and-trade carbon tax decimated her party’s popularity. Newly elected Premier Doug Ford won on a platform of eliminating the province’s cap-and-trade system and campaigning against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax.

Tim Andrews, the executive director of Australian Taxpayers Alliance, explained how carbon taxes ended the careers of two different prime ministers in his country. Speaking on how a tax on energy disproportionately hurts the poor and elderly, Andrews said D.C. think tanks that support such measures simply don’t understand the problems of the common man.

All the hubbub surrounds Curbelo’s legislation that calls for a tax on greenhouse gas emissions — making him the first Republican congressman to do so in nearly 10 years.

Curbelo, a GOP lawmaker representing a blue district in the Miami area, has attempted to showcase his bipartisan bonafides ahead of what will certainly be a difficult midterm election. However, even the Florida lawmaker has acknowledged his bill is unlikely to see the light of day. Speaking at Washington forum on Monday, Curbelo said, at the very least, his bill would spark a conversation.

“I truly believe that one day this bill, or legislation similar to it, will become law,” he stated. “It will spark an important debate about investing in our country’s infrastructure, the way we tax and what to do to protect the environment.”

Only six Republicans voted against a resolution pushed by House Majority Whip Steve Scalise that calls a carbon tax “detrimental to the United States economy,” revealing the immense unpopularity of the measure with the Republican majority. That same resolution also enjoyed bipartisan support, receiving votes of support from seven Democrats.

Grover Norquist, leader of Americans for Tax Reform, closed his press conference by indicating the subject would be a campaign issue.

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