The Carbonator?

Finance Minister Carole Taylor has said she's thinking about introducing a carbon tax in next year's budget "as a way of reducing the burning of fossil fuels." But this isn't the first Campbell administration to consider such a measure. Back in 1990, when the premier was mayor of Vancouver, city council established a task force to study "the issues surrounding atmospheric change, gather public input, and recommend specific actions the City can take." Among those actions: urging "the regional air quality management authority and the Provincial Government to introduce before June 30, 1991, a regional vehicular carbon tax." According to the task force's report, entitled Clouds of Change, that tax would have been used to "subsidize infrastructure" for bicycles, public transit and alternative fuel vehicles. But council shied away from implementing that recommendation - which would have doubled the cost of gasoline - deferring the matter for a future discussion between council and task force members. And, ultimately, the tax was never implemented. The following is a complete copy of that recommendation.

Make Polluters Finance Transportation Alternatives

Recommendation 27

CARBON DIOXIDE TAX TO FUND TRANSPORTATION ALTERNATIVES

Purpose: To introduce a regional tax on carbon dioxide emissions to fund transportation alternatives and development of clean-burning fuels.

THE TASK FORCE RECOMMENDS THAT Council urge the regional air quality management authority and the Provincial Government to introduce before June 30, 1991 a regional vehicular carbon dioxide tax with these characteristics:

a) the tax should be levied on the amount of carbon contained in fuels per unit of energy;
b) the tax should rise in increments over a five-year period so that by 1997 the total retail cost would equal the average cost of the same fuels in representative western European nations;
c) the tax revenues would be accounted for separately and applied to uses such as:
i) subsidizing infrastructure for alternative transportation such as bicycles and public transit;
ii) subsidizing infrastructure for vehicles fueled by alternative fuels such as natural gas, hydrogen, or electricty;
iii) research and demonstration of advanced alternative fuels;
iv) monitoring and reporting on the progress orf carbon dioxide emissions reduction programs; and
v) reducing the inequalities produced by the imposition of this tax.

Benefit: This recommendation will encourage citizens to make atmosphere-friendly transportation choices and provide a significant source of revenue for funding the development of alternative fuels and alternative means nof transportation in the Region.

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