Phase 2 – Implementing iClimateCredits

iClimateCredit is revenue neutral
or generates no new money for government.

Instead we all pay an extra deposit at the pump when you buy gas.  What is collected is then later 100%¹ refunded to the public.

(You might be tempted to use the words, “gas tax”.  However, although this is like a gas tax as the pump in how it is collected, because it is revenue neutral, it is very unlike a normal tax in that all of the money is given back to Kauai and not used for government.  Others have called this “Fee and dividend”.  We feel the words “collected, and climate credits” are the most accurate and do the most good for us all.  Also California has adopted these words for a similar program for their electricity, and so there is some president for their use.)

Collecting money from gas vendors is not new to government and thus can be done similarly for iClimateCredits, as it is already being done as a fuel tax which is a percentage of the price paid at the pump.

The money collected will then need to be put into a temporary revolving trust.  It probably can and should be safely invested to accumulate interest which can be used to pay for administration overhead for iClimateCredits.

Periodically the balance will need to be equally divided on a per capita basis, and checks sent to all residents of Kauai who are of driving age (16 years and older), or failing that, 18 years and older and registered to vote, and whom the County already has a legal name and mailing address for.

This payout could occur monthly, quarterly or yearly.

To make this as inclusive as possible, if the registered voter list method is used, there could be a special registration for those age 16-18, and those who don’t want to register to vote, to register to receive their iClimateCredits payout.  The existing voter registration form could be used and slightly modified for this purpose with a simple additional check box as follows:

checkbox_empty Check here to claim iClimateCredits, but without registering to vote.

Once a year (or perhaps quarterly) the total in the trust collected from all fossil fuel buyers² (gasoline for now) is divided equally (i.e. on a per-capita basis) and sent as a check (a credit) to all those registered to receive it.

(Note, one might be tempted to use the word “rebate”, rather than “credit”.  But this is a credit and not a rebate.  Rebates are not redistributed among buyers, but rather return the exact same amount paid to the buyer.  With these credits, the amount you pay and the amount you get back will differ depending on how much carbon you use relative to other people.)

All of this above is the type of thing that our government is already good at so this should be relatively easy to implement.

The Council will approve the fee as a percentage fee of the cost of gas, and specify who can qualify for the credits.

The initial goal is an approximate $100 yearly check returned to residents.  The exact amount will depend on how much of a fee is collected at the pump times how many gallons consumers buy, divided by the number of people to receive the credit.  [The exact math of this is still being evaluated, and needs a bit further study, but it’s really just a matter of picking a good place to start, as rates will change with time so adjustments can be made.]

The average Kauai resident spends about 1.4% of their gross median income on gas purchases.  Because of the dire consequences of more global warming, a moderate climate credit deposit in the range of $1.00 or two per gallon should therefore not unduly burden most residents.


With iClimateCredits the fee at the pump will go up over time to increase these incentives and thus gradually move us from fossil fuels to renewables.

iClimateCredit also gives tourists an incentive to drive less, and because credits are limited to residents, tourist trips make all yearly credit checks to residents bigger.


While I admire the people who have worked hard to put the GET tax increase idea forward, let’s face it, in a warming world as carbon dioxide builds up, it’s a dinosaur’s idea.  Most everyone gets it that we need to drive internal combustion engine cars less.  We need to encourage alternative energy.  We need to use less blacktop made from oil.

Also the GET tax hopes a few will ride the bus to save the earth and lessen congestion, but there is no real incentive for people to ride the bus, their bike or even to drive a little less with the GET tax bill.

Hoping a few will ride the bus to save the rest of us is not a solution that will save us.

So while an additional GET tax might temporarily fix a little of the congestion with some new road projects, sadly before long, roads will surly gridlock again.  I think any GET tax increase is really pro-dinosaur-juice, when we have global warming dead-ahead and need to seriously re-think our future.

 


Notes:

1) Plus reasonable interest, and less a small management fee to pay for the cost for Kauai County to administer this.

2) Initially this will just be for gasoline, but other fossil fuels should later be included, including diesel, propane, marine fuel, natural gas, and jet fuel.

 

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