Grover Norquist Update: I Didn’t Mean it.

November 13, 2012

One step forward. Two quick baby steps back.

The Hill:

Conservatives including anti-tax activist Grover Norquist are trying to ensure that a carbon tax doesn’t gain any political momentum.

Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), said a carbon tax or a consumption tax would violate the ATR pledge against tax increases that a majority of Republicans have signed.

“There is no conceivable way to add an energy or [value-added tax] to the burdens American taxpayers face that would not violate the pledge over time,” he said in a statement Tuesday.

Norquist appeared to be backing off comments he made to National Journal in a story published Nov. 12. He told the publication that he opposes a carbon tax, but said that coupled with income tax cuts it could be structured in a way that didn’t violate the pledge.

But Norquist, who has a seen a drop in the number of lawmakers who have signed the ATR pledge, on Tuesday said that a carbon tax with offsetting reductions would, over time, inevitably lead to overall tax increases.

“The creation of any new tax such as a VAT or energy tax — even if originally passed with offsetting tax reductions elsewhere — would inevitably lead to higher taxes as two taxes would be at the disposal of politicians to increase taxes,” he said.

Beyond ATR, other conservative groups including the industry-backed Institute for Energy Research — which circulated a study Tuesday bashing carbon taxes — are also trying to ensure the idea of a carbon tax coupled with other rate reductions doesn’t gain steam.

Taxing fossil fuels like oil and coal to help address climate change faces long political odds, but the idea is gaining fresh attention, particularly as a way to raise new revenue and close the deficit.

The concept will be the subject of a daylong conference Tuesday co-sponsored by the International Monetary Fund and several think tanks: the conservative American Enterprise Institute, the Brookings Institution and Resources For the Future.


5 Responses to “Grover Norquist Update: I Didn’t Mean it.”

  1. Santa, do not deliver Grover’s patchouli oil.

    US total tax revenue, across federal, state and local taxing jurisdictions, as a percentage of GDP, ranks 63rd worldwide according to the Heritage Foundation. Our tax revenue peers are South Africa, Kazakhstan and South Korea (which we pay to protect).

    • Charles, thanks for mentioning that; it violated my expectations and so sent me scurrying for more data. I learned that US tax revenue as a percentage of GDP is considerably higher than that of such socialist tyrannies as China and Vietnam. This from a conservative source, the Heritage Foundation!

  2. andrewfez Says:

    I heard he wanted coal for Christmas. Meanwhile in CA, a day after the LA Times gave props to the local oil and gas boys:

    A Market in Emissions Is Set to Open in California

    ‘SAN FRANCISCO — California’s fledging market-based system for reducing greenhouse gas emissions makes its formal debut on Wednesday with its auction of state-issued pollution allowances.

    More than six years in the making, the state’s so-called cap-and-trade program sets limits on carbon dioxide emissions for virtually all sectors of California’s economy, the ninth-largest in the world. Emissions allowances are allotted to polluters, and companies whose emissions exceed their allocations must either obtain extra allowances or buy credits from projects that cut greenhouse gas emissions….’

  3. […] 2012/11/13: PSinclair: Grover Norquist Update: I Didn’t Mean it. […]

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