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Carbon Tax Gains Steam To Fight Global Warming

Though Reynolds thinks the Climate Protection Act is a good starting point, he is pushing for Congress to propose a tax that would allow 100% of its proceeds accrued to go straight back into the pockets of the American public.

On the state level, Massachusetts also has a carbon tax bill under consideration (H.2532), which would impose a tax on certain carbon-intensive fuels and dedicate the revenue raised toward transportation investment.

Introduced by Democratic Representative Tom Conroy of Wayland and Democratic Senator Michael Barrett of Lexington, the Massachusetts bill would boost taxes on heating oil and firewood and gasoline (at 3.5 cents-per-gallon). However, the bill also proposes doubling the personal income tax exemption to offset any cost burden the carbon tax would have on the citizens of the Bay State.

Barrett believes an offset is a better way to get citizens on board with a carbon tax, since dividend payments might be perceived as a government handout and turn people off. Barrett also thinks it is important to appeal to people's sense of morality over money concerns when it comes to addressing climate change.

"We need to impress upon people that if we don't do something soon, the world is going to burn up," says Barrett.

But not everyone agrees with the tactics in Barrett's bill.

"We need a revenue neutral bill where everything is returned to U.S. citizens," says Gary Rucinski, the Boston chapter leader and northeast regional coordinator of the Citizens Climate Lobby, and the founder and chairman of The Committee for a Green Economy, which is currently pushing to have its own carbon tax proposal put on the Massachusetts state ballot for 2016.

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