By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, November 14, 2012 - 0 Comments
“The time seems ripe for this discussion. The president is committed both to raising tax revenue and to dealing with climate change. A carbon tax kills two birds with one stone,” said Gregory Mankiw, a Harvard economist who advised the Romney campaign and has long pushed for more efficient taxation, including a carbon tax.
“If this is going to be an issue that is part of discussions, there will have to be some interest shown by Republicans if we are going to make any progress,” Gilbert E. Metcalf, the Treasury Department’s deputy assistant secretary for environment and energy, told reporters.
“The administration has not proposed a carbon tax nor is it planning to, but if there is, as part of fiscal reform discussions, there are a lot of pieces on the table, and if Republicans see this as a viable piece, then it could be part of the mix,” he said.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 5:50 PM - 43 Comments
John Baird says the government will increase the airport security fee charged to air travelers, the opposition critics say this is a tax and this is perhaps relevant because the Prime Minister once said, “I give you my word, as long as I will be Prime Minister … there will be no new taxes.” (In fairness, he said “no new taxes,” which wouldn’t, one supposes, necessarily preclude him from increasing taxes that already exist.)
Here, for the sake of argument, is how the distinction was explained in a 1987 New York Times story about the Reagan administration’s attempt to navigate this discussion.
Joseph A. Pechman, a leading tax authority and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, thinks there can be a distinction. A user fee – such as the admission fee to national parks – is, he said, ”imposed on individuals who use certain services provided by the Government and is proportional to the use of the service.” By contrast, he defines a tax as a ”mandatory assessment on an individual family based on certain characteristics, such as income or consumption.”
But Mr. Pechman adds that a user fee is sometimes not very different from an ”excise tax,” which is a tax imposed on particular commodities, such as gasoline, cigarettes and alcohol.