I have lived in Utah most of my life and have volunteered for my church, community or profession throughout those years. I could have been earning good money instead, and our state tax coffers would have directly benefited. Utah is the volunteer capital of the country. Using this short-sighted logic, volunteers are costing us millions in lost revenue.
Our Legislature is considering a bill (HB209) that will increase fees on a small group of valuable volunteers — early adopters of fuel-efficient vehicles, who assist this state in cleaning our air, preserving our snowpack, and protecting the poor and vulnerable through decreasing fossil fuel emissions. Yes, there are other reasons to buy fuel-efficient vehicles, but for many these are primary incentives. Placing an extra fee on these conscientious citizens will net short-term funds for roads, but scientists and economists believe the long-term costs will be much greater. Why lean hard on these valued volunteers for public revenue and not the rest of us?
Let’s tax the polluters and not helpful early adopters. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and leading economists agree that pricing carbon pollution would be the most efficient way to do so. Let’s encourage Utah’s volunteer tradition rather than punish its good deeds.