PSU study makes case for Oregon carbon tax
Author: Christina Williams, Institute for Sustainable Solutions
Posted: March 11, 2013

Portland State University’s Northwest Economic Research Center released a report March 11 exploring the idea of a carbon tax for Oregon.

The report makes the case that shifting the tax burden — reducing individual and business taxes at the same time the carbon tax is implemented — could prove beneficial for Oregon’s economy.

The NERC report, “Carbon Tax and Shift: How to Make It Work for Oregon’s Economy,” explores several ways to structure the tax and reinvest the revenue. The most promising scenarios project the tax policy would prompt positive job growth for Oregon while generating annual revenues of up to $2.15 billion over a 20-year horizon, along with greenhouse gas reductions of up to 15 percent.

“A carbon tax is an efficient way to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions — you tax what you want less of,” said Tom Potiowsky, director of NERC and chair of PSU’s Department of Economics. “With a policy that uses the revenue from a carbon tax to reduce other taxes, Oregon could accelerate the process of reducing those emissions while still supporting a vibrant economy.” 

The report’s researchers, Jenny H. Liu and Jeff Renfro, looked closely at the experience of Canadian province British Columbia, which implemented its own carbon tax in 2008 that was also designed to be revenue neutral. The report is based on Oregon’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 10 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and at least 75 percent by 2050, and explores a variety of carbon tax plans that would support those goals.

NERC’s Potiowsky will be joined 8 a.m. March 19 by British Columbia Environment Minister Terry Lake at a forum for business leaders hosted by NERC and the Institute for Sustainable Solutions. The pair will also travel to Salem to testify at the state capitol where four carbon tax-related bills have been introduced by the Oregon Legislature.

Download the report at 

Register to attend the breakfast on March 19.