Oregon Climate Group Argues Cap-and-Trade Legislation is a Tax Oregon Climate Group Argues Cap-and-Trade Legislation is a Tax – NTK Network

Oregon Climate Group Argues Cap-and-Trade Legislation is a Tax

“It’s not good policy to have sweeping legislation passed on a purely partisan vote,” a prominent public policy attorney said about the proposed bill.

By NTK Staff | 01.29.2018 @10:29am
Oregon Climate Group Argues Cap-and-Trade Legislation is a Tax

Oregonians for Balanced Climate Policy released an analysis that argued the cap-and-trade legislation that is before Oregon legislature is indeed a tax, and thus requires a three-fifths majority in both houses of the Oregon legislature to become law.

“It’s not good policy to have sweeping legislation passed on a purely partisan vote,” Bill Gary, a prominent public policy attorney, who co-wrote the analysis, told the Portland Business Journal. “We would suggest it would be better to bring both parties to the table and build consensus.”

If the cap-and-trade legislation in the Oregon legislature is found to be a tax it would mean that Democrats who are pushing for the legislation “would need at least one Republican vote in each chamber to reach three-fifths majorities.”

The cap-and-trade legislation that is before the Oregon legislature is modeled off cap-and-trade legislation that California pass last year. The legislation in Oregon would likely pass along party lines, according to Gary. However, the California legislation received support from Republicans in both chambers.

“Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown managed to pick up the support of seven of 25 Republicans in the state Assembly and one of 13 in the Senate to build two-thirds majorities, required for tax bills in California,” according to Portland Business Journal.

Oregon’s Office of the Legislative Counsel ruled in October that the cap-and-trade legislation that is before Oregon legislature was not a tax and did not require a supermajority to become law.

The Office of the Legislative Counsel argued that the cap-and-trade legislation that is before Oregon legislature did not meet the “the Bobo test.”

“The Bobo test,” which was created in 2005, establishes “whether a bill requires supermajorities in the Legislature” to become law.

To require a supermajority, the bill either collects or brings money into the treasury and “if a bill does bring money into the treasury, the remaining question is whether the bill possesses the essential features of a bill levying a tax.”

The first part of “the Bobo test” is not disputed, as the cap-and trade-legislation would bring in “hundreds of millions of dollars” to the state treasury every year. It’s the second part of “the Bobo test” that the Office of the Legislative Counsel and Oregonians for Balanced Climate Policy disagree on.

“The whole point and the reason they call it ‘cap and invest’ is that they want to raise money for a broad range of social programs,” Gary argued. “They’re going to use it all over the state to benefit everyone. In that way, it looks very much like the gas tax.”

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