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Outreach/Invitation to Initiative

        Advocates are being sought nationwide for this Initiative to pass resolutions by local governments in support of a revenue-neutral federal carbon tax. Broad-based support is possible based on the following understanding:

        Federal legislation is likely to be enacted in the near term to reduce fossil fuel emissions. The debate between a tax and emissions trading may seem remote from daily life, but the outcome will affect all Americans.

        Emissions trading acts like a covert tax as the costs are passed on to the consumer. However an actual tax is less expensive because it’s simpler, as well as less readily abused and more effective. A revenue-neutral tax that returns the proceeds to the public is better for the economy and more equitable. The benefits of the dividend provide strong incentives for both consumer and business groups to lobby for it to be made.

        Here is an action step toward making a federal carbon tax politically possible: in addition to promoting the carbon tax in Washington D.C., promote it among local political leaders and their constituencies by enlisting a local legislator to introduce a resolution in support. This action also prompts media coverage. Examples follow.

        A resolution was drafted in December 2007. In January 2008 the resolution passed the Planning Committee of the City of Ithaca, New York. In February the resolution passed Ithaca’s Council, only two months after the resolution was first drafted.

        The City sent copies of the resolution to officials representing Ithaca at state and national levels, as well as to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, sending a signal that a carbon tax could become politically possible. Subsequently the Town of Ithaca passed a resolution, then forwarded copies to officials. The Tompkins County Legislature has now passed a resolution. As more local governments pass such resolutions, the increasing size of the Initiative will bring greater national attention to the advantages of the tax and inspire the introduction of more resolutions.

        After passage, the resolution requires no further commitment on the part of the advocate or the local government. And this feasible action publicizes the advantages of a tax, also requiring local officials to inform themselves about the issues before voting. Because more people come to understand the advantages of the revenue-neutral federal carbon tax, this resolution is the political equivalent of turning lead to gold.

        Volunteering is part-time and short term, contacting officials to get the resolution on the local agenda until it comes up for a vote. The only training needed is reading the background information and model resolution. No monetary donations are needed.

        Could you volunteer say an average of an hour a week to work with a city, town, or county government on this Initiative for a few months? Do you know anyone who might, anywhere in the nation? Please check out federalcarbontax.org or forward this email. The coordinator of the Initiative, Sylvester Johnson, Ph.D. Applied Physics, can be contacted for free email or phone consultation.

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