On Monday, April 13, CABA co-hosted an event featuring leaders from the Canadian province of British Columbia in a panel discussion on the success of BC’s carbon 100% revenue neutral carbon tax and the future of carbon pricing in Massachusetts. British Columbia’s carbon tax is looked to as a case study for future policy designs; Senator Barrett and other legislators are looking to implement a similar policy in MA.
Ross Beaty, a successful Canadian businessman with over 35 years of experience in the mining industry, provided a global business perspective on the positive aspects of carbon pricing. He explained how putting a price on carbon spurs innovation in the business sector as companies like his adapt to increasing costs on greenhouse gas use, which allows companies to operate with lower costs and lower carbon while growing.
RJ Lyman, Senior Adviser at Mintz Levin, stated that a carbon tax cannot be an environmental policy with an economic benefit. Instead, it needs to be an economic policy with an environmental benefit. By taxing the “bad” (carbon emissions) instead of the “good” (income), we get more of the good and less of the bad. In British Columbia, personal and corporate income taxes were reduced and rebated to tax payers to ensure the “carbon tax” did not increase the tax burden. Today, BC has the lowest income tax rates in Canada and among the lowest in the G7 countries.
Massachusetts State Senator Barrett explained that in his proposed legislation for pricing carbon in Massachusetts, the fees collected for carbon emissions would be returned directly to residents, businesses and non-profit institutions on a per capita and per employee basis, thus avoiding the legal definition and financial burdens of a “tax” in Massachusetts. This is critical, as it allows Republican governor Charlie Baker to support a carbon fee and rebate mechanism in Massachusetts despite his “no new taxes” pledge.
Carbon pricing creates an incentive to avoid pollution, without burdening the economy. In British Columbia, fossil fuel use and carbon emissions are down, and economic growth is up. The BC delegation gave clear and compelling evidence that carbon pricing works, and Massachusetts has a tremendous opportunity to be a leader on this issue in the US. We invite you to join us at the upcoming CABA workshop on how carbon pricing can benefit your business at the Sustainable Business Leadership Summit on May 15th.