HEPPNER, Oregon – The Oregon Legislature adjourned Saturday without managing to pass a carbon fuels tax. Rep. Greg Smith (R-Heppner) says that it doesn’t mean the tax is dead. It will be back next session. Gov. Kate Brown has announced she will form a task force to work on the proposal.
Smith plans to lead the charge against it. He says the tax will hit Eastern Oregon hard, and he’s going to take that message to Salem in the 2019 session.
“People need to know that what that carbon tax issue means is an additional 18 to 22 cents per gallon of fuel,” he said. “Those additional dollars are not going to be put into having better roads or better bridges.”
He says that the money raised by the tax will go to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and will do little more than create “a massive bureaucracy,” in Smith’s words.
DEQ would then be charged to utilize the taxes for a clean environment. Smith sees a nightmare in the making.
“The reality is, we all want a clean environment,” he said. “I want it. You want it. Everyone does. But we have to be smart in how we do it.”