Inversion settles into Utah Valley 04

A deer stands near Interstate 15 on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017 near Point of the Mountain in Lehi. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

Should Utah implement a tax on carbon emissions? It’s a question one group wants to put on the ballot for the 2020 election.

However, there’s quite a process that has to happen to put a citizen’s initiative on the ballot. The application for an initiative has already been filed with the Utah Lt. Governor’s office, and a fiscal analysis is expected to be released on Monday. After that, the next step is to hold a series of public hearings on the topic in different regions throughout the state.

Those seven public hearings will be held May 7 and 8. The Provo hearing will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Brimhall Room of the Provo City Library.

The goal of the initiative, is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by taxing them. Approximately 20 percent of the revenue is intended to be directed to improving local air quality and promoting rural economic development, with the other 80 percent dedicated to reduce existing taxes, including eliminating the state sales tax on grocery store food.

“The basic idea is we should be taxing pollution, not taxing potatoes,” said Yoram Bauman, an economist who co-founded the initiative effort.

For now, the initiative would start the tax at $11 per metric ton of CO2, or about 10 cents per gallon of gasoline and 0.8 cents per kilowatt-hour of electricity. It would go up over time.

The group has the chance to change the initiative after receiving the public feedback from the meetings, Bauman said.

“We think that air quality is a top issue along the Wasatch Front and elsewhere in the state,” Bauman said.

The remainder of the public hearings are supposed to be held at the following times and locations according to http://cleanthedarnair.org:

  • Southeast Region: 2 p.m., Tuesday, May 7, Utah State University Eastern, Alumni Room, JLSC Building, 400 E. 451 North, Price, UT 84501
  • Central Region: 4 p.m., Tuesday, May 7, Juab County Courthouse, Senior Center, 160 N. Main St., Nephi, UT 84648
  • Uintah Basin Region: 5 p.m., Tuesday, May 7, Duchesne Library, 130 S. Center St., Duchesne, UT 84021
  • Mountain Region: 7 p.m., Tuesday, May 7, Provo Library, Brimhall Room, 550 N. University Ave., Provo, UT 84601
  • Southwest Region: 7 p.m., Tuesday, May 7, Springdale Town Hall, 118 Lion Blvd., Springdale, UT 84767
  • Wasatch Front Region: 5 p.m., Wednesday, May 8, Anderson-Foothill Library, 1135 S. 2100 East, Salt Lake City, UT 84108
  • Bear River Region: 7 p.m., Wednesday, May 8, Logan Library, Bonneville Room, 255 Main St., Logan, UT 84321

Katie England covers local government, the environment and southern Utah County for the Daily Herald. She can be reached at 801-344-2599 or kengland@heraldextra.com.

Katie England covers politics, county government and southern Utah County for the Daily Herald. She can be reached at 801-344-2599 or kengland@heraldextra.com.

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