Maine may indeed be a progressively blue state, however, State Rep. Deane Rykerson (Dem) has apparently felt the pushback from voters and has decided to pull his intrusive carbon tax proposal from consideration.
This mirrors what happened in Washington State when a similar carbon tax was introduced by Democrats and the behest of influential environmentalists.
The surprise announcement of the pull-out on Thursday means that blue state Maine like progressive Washington State can’t claim the distinction of being the first state within the country to impose a carbon tax.
Rykerson instead will create a “Carbon Pricing Study Group” that will explore the tax and recommend solutions.
Nick Isgro, Mayor of Waterville, told reporters upon hearing the news, “This is a middle and low-income family crushing tax.”
Adding, “The sponsor (Rykerson) now wants the tax bill replaced with a study. Thank you all…WIN!”
Maine voters had apparently studied their counterparts in Washington State who rejected the carbon tax scheme by Democrats and environmental activists, not once, not twice but three times.
Washington State voters rejected the first two ballot measures imposing a carbon tax, one of which was touted as being revenue neutral, which was rejected outright because of the outrageous claim made by Democrats.
Initiative 1631 was the third attempt in selling a carbon tax to savvy Washington State voters, who rejected a similar measure in 2016, and again in 2018.
Progressive lobbyists, environmental activists and Democratic leaders within the state pumped more than 15 million dollars into their campaign, including $1 million from Microsoft and another cool million from co-founder Bill Gates along with former “nanny” Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Had the measure passed, Washington State would have become the first state in the country to tax carbon dioxide emissions. The coalition of environmentalists, progressive activists, and other liberal groups advocated for taxing emissions at $15 a ton in 2020, which would increase at $2 a year above the rate of inflation until the state meets its emissions goals. The voters again rejected the measure
Maine’s proposed carbon tax would have resulted in much higher gas prices at the pump for many working-class citizens according to experts the bill would have added about 40 cents per gallon of gas according to the watchdog group “Maine People Before Politics” making Maine one of the highest gas taxed state in the country.
The group was able to rally citizens and defeat the measure even before it was brought before state legislators, because people came out in mass on February 28th to testify at the Carbon Tax bill, LD 434, at the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee hearing, and made their collective voices heard.
Many groups joined together to unite and defeat the purposed carbon tax including: Maine People Before Politics, Restore Maine’s Future, Free Maine Campaign, Patriot Pac, and the Maine Republican Party. The overflow crowd came out in unison to protest the intrusive tax that would adversely affect both hardworking middle-class families and families at financial risk with higher prices on home heating oil, gasoline, propane, kerosene, and other fuels.
It is laudable to protect the environment; however, the bill as designed hurts the average Main citizen, especially the elderly on fixed incomes. Furthermore, directing the money to the utilities that transmit and deliver electricity is not returning the funds to the people who are paying this tax out of pocket.
However this battle isn’t over; on the contrary, it’s just beginning. If we’ve learned anything about progressive “overreach” especially regarding taxes, it’s that they’ll repackage it, dress it up to look like something else.
In fact, Governor Janet Mills has already joined a coalition of governors who embrace the aims of the Paris accord, announcing on Thursday an extensive climate agenda and pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and work toward 100 percent renewable.
The Democrat had campaigned hard on climate issues, often accusing her predecessor, Republican Gov. Paul LePage, of undermining Maine’s renewable energy industry and denying the threat posed by rising sea levels and warming temperatures.