Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club consists of over 25,000 members.
The Chapter spans the entire state of Texas, excepting El Paso, which
is part of the Rio Grande Chapter. neil_ email@example.com
Located in Austin, the Lone Star Chapter's State Conservation Office
serves Sierrans as their grassroots communications center. We also provide
Sierrans with a full time professional activist staff employed to represent
Sierrans as we fight at the state level to protect and conserve Texas'
diverse and valuable natural heritage.
Report: “Green” Taxes Smart Way to Fund Schools, Clear the Air
Austin, Texas – Taxes on polluting cars, power plants and industries could generate more than $1.5 billion for Texas schools over the next two years and help clear the air, according to a new study released Monday by a variety of consumer, environmental and religious organizations including Texas Impact, the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club, Environment Texas, and Public Citizen. The resulting funds could be used to help lower property taxes or increase the amount of state funds earmarked for schools, as the Legislature takes yet another stab at solving the school finance maze in April.
“Just as we tax cigarettes, alcohol and other “sins”, in part to influence behavior and pay for the impacts of that behavior, taxing pollution is smart economic and environmental policy,” said Cyrus Reed, Director of the Texas Center for Policy Studies and the report’s main author. “It makes plain sense to tax the ‘bads’ before you tax the ‘goods’”.
In recent years, economists, environmentalists and decision-makers have called for a shift away from taxation on productivity, including both labor and business inputs, toward resource extraction and pollution. Such taxes would raise significant revenue and create disincentives for polluting or inefficient technologies. The report recommends levies such as an energy inefficiency or high energy consumption tax, a tax on coal use, a motor vehicle surcharge on high-polluting vehicles, a tax on industrial toxics released to the air, increasing penalties on environmental law-breakers to recover “economic benefit” and a higher fee on highly-polluting diesel fuels as well as letting gas and diesel “pay-at-the-pump” taxes rise with inflation.
The groups cited the serious health risks children face from exposure to pollution. Studies indicate that exposure to air pollutants such as particulate matter, sulfate, sulfur dioxide gas, and ozone can result in reduced lung function, asthma attacks, increased visits to the doctor's office and emergency rooms, hospitalizations and may, very tragically, also lead to increased risk of infant death. Literally millions of children in Texas live in areas that don’t meet federal air quality standards.
“Millions of children in Texas today are exposed to unhealthy air at home, at school, or at their playground,” said Luke Metzger, an Advocate for Environment Texas. “We need to reduce the pollution that’s making our kids sick, and it's only right that we tax the polluters responsible and use the revenue to pay for our schools.”
Additionally, the groups called for a further expansion of the state’s successful renewable energy standard from 5,880 to 10,880 MW by 2017, citing the significant tax revenues gained on the capital-intensive wind projects. In 2004 alone, Texas school districts were paid more than $14.5 million in property taxes from wind projects.
“Clean skies and good schools are both ultimately moral issues,” noted Texas Impact director Bee Morehead. “The religious community wants to see our Legislature help make both a reality and these taxes would be a good place to start.”