STA wants no part of carbon tax

REGINA — In the wake of B.C.’s recent carbon tax plan, the Saskatchewan Trucking Association is urging other jurisdictions not to follow suit.

Al Rosseker, executive director of the STA, says a carbon tax would compound problems for the industry which is already dealing with extremely high fuel costs.

“Simply slapping on yet another fuel tax that will see its proceeds wind up in the financial blackhole called the government’s general revenue ledger shows no leadership while stoking the fires of inflation,’ Rosseker stated in a news release.

While Rosseker admits it is important for the government to deal with environmental issues, there are better ways to go about it than fuel taxes. Rather than punishing fuel use, Rosseker suggests rewarding fuel savings by creating initiatives for more fuel efficient trucks.

The opinion of the STA is similar to the stance the B.C. Trucking Association took following their province’s carbon tax announcement in mid-February.

B.C.’s proposed carbon tax would be revenue-neutral, which would be legislated to ensure all money collected through the tax is redistributed to the public through tax cuts. But the BCTA insists this measure is only beneficial to people who can choose to use less fuel – basically anyone but the trucking industry.

“Carbon taxes may have a role to play in encouraging the reduction of greenhouse gases in some sectors and amongst consumers, but the trucking industry has no choice but to rely on diesel fuel to keep the economy moving,” says Paul Landry, president and CEO of the BCTA.

The association estimates that the carbon tax will cost about $1,000 per long haul truck this year, about $3,000 in 2009 and $6,000 in 2012, as the tax is phased in.

While BCTA recognizes corporate, small business and personal taxes will drop as a result of the government’s commitment to revenue neutrality, the carbon tax may not be neutral for the trucking industry and the association is concerned the tax will negatively affect B.C.’s competitiveness.

A federal carbon tax is unlikely at this point, after a report from the David Suzuki Foundation was largely ignored in federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s budget, but the STA is concerned more individual jurisdictions could impose taxes similar to the one in B.C.

— with files from the Regina Leader-Post

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