British Columbia’s Cautionary Carbon Tax Tale

by Rob Roper

Carbon Tax advocates invariably point to British Columbia as an example of a successfully implemented program. A big part of B.C.’s alleged success is the notion that it is “revenue neutral” – new tax cuts fully offset the costs of the Carbon Tax increase. Although revenue neutrality was the case when B.C.’s Carbon Tax was originally enacted… now not so much!

The Fraser Institute recently did a study of B.C.’s Carbon Tax and discovered that in 2013/14, the first full fiscal year in which the Carbon Tax reached its top rate of 30 per tonne, the tax was no longer neutral. The B.C. government was using some smoke and mirrors accounting gimmicks (applying existing tax credits that pre-dated the Carbon Tax to the offset calculations) to make the tax appear neutral. Without those gimmicks’ the Fraser Institute reports the Carbon Tax increase for 2013/14 was really…

$226 million that year. In 2013/14 and 2014/15, the two years for which final data are available, British Columbians bore a combined $377 million net tax increase.

If the available historical data are combined with the government’s projections to 2018/19, then from 2013/14 to 2018/19, the carbon tax is projected to result in a cumulative $865 million net tax increase for British Columbians… or $728 for a family of four.

We bring this up because the Vermont Carbon Tax proposal advocated for by VPIRG and Energy Independent Vermont (EIV) does not even begin as revenue neutral – it skims 10% off the top to fund pet projects. Nevertheless, the 90% of revenue collected that is supposed to be redistributed comes with the caveat that government can, of course, find other priorities for the money. If history guides us, they surely will.

- Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Jim Bulmer March 18, 2017 at 1:16 pm

The Dems are salivating at the prospect of a carbon tax. All this new money and no place to spend it – YET. Not to worry, the tree huggers will find a whole laundry list of wasteful do good projects to squander the proceeds. We already soundly defeated a candidate who ran on implementing a carbon tax. Will they EVER learn. I doubt it.


Willem Post April 14, 2017 at 6:19 pm

It is congenital. They cannot help themselves.
The only solution is to DE- elect more Democrats.


Mark Donka March 18, 2017 at 7:39 pm

Many of use ran and campaigned against the Carbon Tax. The Dems lied and said no one was even looking at a Carbon Tax. But McCormack and Clarkson refused to answer yes or no when asked during a debate. Now they back it. Wake up VT or pay the consequences.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post:

About Us

The Ethan Allen Institute is Vermont’s free-market public policy research and education organization. Founded in 1993, we are one of fifty-plus similar but independent state-level, public policy organizations around the country which exchange ideas and information through the State Policy Network.

Latest News

Shumlin’s Decade Old Climate Prediction Revisited

March 16, 2018 by Rob Roper In 2007, then Senator Peter Shumlin said in an interview with Jane Lindholm, “Any reasonable scientist will tell you that we’re going...

Florida school shooting policies

March 15, 2018 by John McClaughry Jarrett Stepman of the Daily Signal adds an important fact to the Florida school shooting case. He writes: “Prior to the mass...

Peter Welch Admits Government’s “Well-Intentioned Flop”

March 14, 2018 by Rob Roper  Vermont congressmen Peter Welch has been an advocate of doing away with Ethanol subsidies for a while. As the program’s serious failures...

EAI Town Meeting Week Survey Results

March 12, 2018 479 people took the Ethan Allen Institute Town Meeting Week Survey. We marketed this on social media to a general audience of Vermonters aged 25...

Washington state carbon tax fails

March 9, 2018 by John McClaughry The governor most intoxicated with the idea of enacting a carbon tax – and even using it as a springboard to a...