Instead of turning to a complex system of cap and trade credits to combat global warming, the country should consider a straightforward carbon tax that is “more simple and straightforward” for businesses and consumers, a Republican U.S. Senate candidate said Monday.
“I’m not fooled by cap and trade,” said Rob Simmons, who is angling to unseat U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd in next year’s election.
“It’s really a cap and tax” system that marks “a dangerous way to govern,” said Simmons, who never said whether he favored or opposed a carbon tax. [His campaign manager, Jim Barnett, said Tuesday that Simmons opposes a carbon tax and believes it would be a disaster for the economy.].
The U.S. House approved the American Clean Energy and Security Act in June -- which would allow the government to gradually lower carbon emissions that are responsible for global warming -- but the measure remains stalled in the Senate.
Under the proposed cap and trade system, companies that emit CO2 could reduce emissions to met lower targets or buy the right to use emission credits from other firms that have managed to cut carbon releases more sharply than mandated.
While some economists argue it is a good way to engage the free market, Simmons said it would create “a serious problem” for America’s energy markets and add a useless layer of complexity.
State Rep. Bill Hamzy, a Plymouth Republican whose 78th District includes Bristol, said the cap and trade plan was developed by Wall Street investment firms that aim “to make a ton of money” gaming a system only they will truly understand.
Simmons, a former congressman who faces several potential challengers from within the GOP for the right to be the party’s standard bearer against Dodd, said there are a number of “no-brainer kinds of things” that have to be done to tackle global warming.
He said the country needs a wider mix of energy sources that include renewables, more nuclear power, more domestic drilling for natural gas, more reliance on fuel cells and more vehicles that can run on electricity and other sources of energy other than gasoline.
Simmons said that the cap and trade idea that has enthralled so many in Washington would merely create a market for speculators to drive up costs and make a mint for themselves.
He said the government ought to “call it what it is” -- a carbon tax -- and take on the issue directly.
Generally, most of those pushing for a carbon tax instead argue that its simplicity would prevent the need for more bureaucratic oversight, drive out speculators and offer the chance to return any taxes collected through payroll or income tax reductions.
A carbon tax would tax each fossil fuel based on the carbon it emits, making coal more costly and natural gas less, at least in comparison.
During his failed 2008 presidential race, Dodd was the only serious Democratic candidate to tout a carbon tax over cap and trade. Dodd said other candidates dodged it because their pollsters and handlers warned them that favoring a carbon tax could bring trouble.
Simmons, Hamzy and Simmons’ campaign manager, Jim Barnett, spoke during a meeting Monday at The Bristol Press office.
Hamzy backs Simmons
Veteran state Rep. Bill Hamzy, a Plymouth Republican, added his voice to a growing chorus of endorsements for Rob Simmons’ U.S. Senate bid.
Simmons, a former congressman from Stonington, is “a proven vote-getter” with a solid background that shows he can defeat U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd in next year’s election, Hamzy said.
Hamzy, whose 78th District includes northwestern Bristol, said Dodd “has lost touch with what reality is” after so many years in Washington and could easily lose the support he’s always had from the “realistic Democrats” who live in Bristol.
Dodd “has done Washington,” Simmons said, and lost the trust of Connecticut voters.
Simmons said that Hamzy’s support sends a strong message to Republicans in the region who trust the 15-year veteran lawmaker’s judgment about the best candidate to knock Dodd out of the Senate...
A former state party chairman, Hamzy’s support may help Simmons break from a pack of potential candidates that includes state Sen. Sam Caliguri of Waterbury and former U.S. Ambassador Tom Foley.
“I take his support very seriously,” said Simmons, who lost his 2nd District congressional seat during the 2006 blowout. He served as the state’s business advocate for the next two years.
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