A Hawaii Carbon Tax?

California Environmental Protection Agency

The possibility of a Hawaii carbon tax has cropped up as the state debates greenhouse gas rules that are supposed to go into effect on January 1, 2012.

The recommendation of the tax was supported by four out of 10 members of a task force that was set up to advise the state Department of Health. Members supporting the measure included: Robbie Alm, executive vice president of Hawaiian Electric Co.; Jeff Mikulina, executive director of Blue Planet Foundation; Maxine Burkett, a professor at UH Manoa’s Richardson School of Law; and Makena Coffman, a professor in UH Manoa’s Department of Urban and Regional Planning.

The carbon tax was also one of three main proposals submitted to the DOH by an independent consultant paid to evaluate Hawaii's options for reducing greenhouse gases.

Task force members opposing the measure cited concerns that a future federal carbon tax or cap and trade, could result in a double–taxation for Hawaii companies.

But whether the state has the authority to implement the tax without approval by the Legislature has come under debate.

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