The Budget, Cap-and-Trade, Health Care : Not Good, Not Good, Not Good
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Video of Bruce Josten's opening statement on our budget conference call yesterday at the bottom. First up a wrap of the call, told in vivid build-a-story.
Bruce Josten, the Chamber's executive vice president for government affairs, said the organization hopes to assemble a wave of grassroots activists to squelch President Obama's budget goals. During a conference call, he said the Obama budget would result in new burdens on businesses through tax increases and a cap-and-trade proposal on emissions.
"This budget drives the country in the wrong direction," Josten said. "It represents a huge expansion of the fed government paid for in large part by tax increases on businesses." (WSJ)
Bruce Josten, the chamber's executive vice president for government affairs, said the cost of the new business taxes would be passed only to consumers and wipe out any savings they'd get from changes to the tax code. (Ithaca Journal)
The Chamber’s No. 1 concern is that lawmakers may use the budget reconciliation process to pass a resolution containing two of Obama’s most important priorities: funding for health care reform and a cap-and-trade plan designed to reduce greenhouse gases. By pushing for reconciliation, Congress would not need the 60 votes to break a filibuster in the Senate. A simple majority in the higher chamber instead could pass a budget resolution.
"They very simply do not belong in a budget reconciliation process," said Josten. "Both are huge complex issues and both require open and transparent debate." (The Hill)
In proposing the cap-and-trade mandate, the White House said the sale of emissions permits would likely raise $646bn during its first eight years of implementation. However, Josten quoted White House advisor Jason Furman as saying that the cost of the cap-and-trade programme would probably be two or three times the initial estimate or as much as $1,900bn over eight years. "Imposing a tax of close to $2,000bn very simply does not belong in the budget document," Josten said.
A cap-and-trade system would impose particularly high costs on coal-fired facilities because of their higher rates of emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases (GHG). Even cap-and-trade advocates concede that those costs in turn would be passed on to consumers and businesses in the form of sharply increased energy prices.
"These representatives and senators recognise that there would be major rate increases on their constituents, and they are wary of seeing commercial and industrial interests leave their states because of those costs," Josten said. He said that as higher energy costs drive business and industry out of coal-dependent states, local governments’ tax bases would erode and people would leave the state.
"As more members of Congress look at these results, they see it is not good, not good, not good," Josten said. (ICIS News)