Oregon lawmakers are considering a very dangerous Carbon Cap-and-Tax Bill (also called Cap-and-Trade and Cap-and-Invest). In the rush to push through a Carbon Cap-and-Tax Bill, lawmakers have largely ignored how the projected increases in energy prices will harm employment in manufacturing and other key sectors.Last year, as study published by FTI Consulting found that Oregon’s manufacturing sector would be “highly impacted” by a cap-and-tax scheme.
Nine states in the Northeast have a cap-and-tax system, known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI.
Since 2012, RGGI states have lost 3.7 percent of their manufacturing jobs. Over the same period, states that are not in the RGGI have seen their manufacturing jobs increase by 5.8 percent. Oregon—which is not in the RGGI—had a 13 percent increase in manufacturing employment.
One version of the bill exempts semiconductor manufacturers from the cap-and-trade scheme. However, this exemption does nothing for the steep price hikes for electricity, natural gas, gasoline, and diesel that every business and nonprofit will face.
In addition, state and local governments—even school districts—will see their budgets get devoured by high and rising prices just to keep their lights on and their buildings heated. In fact, FTI calculates that state and local government will see the biggest job losses of any employment sector in the state.
Cap-and-tax is a massive and radical change for the state. Lawmakers should spend more time digging deep into the job impacts before they impose this scheme on Oregon’s fragile economy.