Los Angeles is considering a plan that will help residents fight global warming and spend less time in traffic — all for the low, low price of $90 a year.
Lawmakers want to ask LA voters to chose between an additional $.09/ gallon tax at the pump, or an additional registration fee around $90 a year. The registration fee would be higher for cars, trucks, and SUVs that produce more carbon emissions. The fee would raise $400 million a year for public transit and other programs designed to relieve congestion and improve air quality.
Opponents point out that politicians can always conjure up the vague threat of global warming as a way to convince citizens to tax themselves and bail the government out of poor budget management. Because the environment could use infinite attention, opponents argue, it is a perfect tool for demagoguery.
Does being "green" mean making costly, and open-ended commitments to improving air quality? When polluting industries brag about their empty "green-washed" credentials, is it up to everyday citizens to implement real change? Is it promising that the city of traffic and smog might make sacrifices to reduce emissions? Does it count as a sacrifice if only the poor are pushed off the roads?