WHEELING - U.S. Rep. David McKinley introduced a resolution this week seeking congressional opposition to a federal carbon tax he says would raise electric costs and drive up unemployment rates.
"A carbon tax would increase the cost of everything from driving a car to heating and cooling a home," McKinley, R-Wheeling, said. "It would be especially burdensome on middle-class Americans and prevent our economy from recovering.
"Raising taxes on everyone from manufacturers to homeowners is not the way to improve our economy, and Congress should reject this idea," he said.
McKinley first introduced the measure on Nov. 30 during the last days of the 112th Congress and it has been re-introduced in the new 113th Congress. It states coal and natural gas are essential to America's economic competitiveness and independence from foreign energy.
The resolution notes a carbon tax would have a dramatic, immediate impact on transportation costs, with low-income families feeling the greatest impact. The tax also would result in "immediate increases in the price of electricity, making electricity less affordable for millions of Americans," it states.
U.S. Reps. Shelley Moore Capito, R-Charleston; Bill Johnson, R-Marietta; and Nick Rahall, D-Beckley, join eight other co-sponsors, all Republicans, signing on to the resolution.
Capito spokeswoman Jamie Corley said the congresswoman "supports any legislation that expresses opposition to policies that will hurt West Virginia resources - especially a carbon tax."
"Many West Virginians would pay the cost of this tax with their jobs, because the tax would spur more layoffs in the energy and energy intensive manufacturing sectors, and all West Virginians would pay the carbon tax every time they pay their electric bills or fill up their gas tanks," Corley said.
Johnson also noted the potential costs of a federal carbon tax.
"Right now, hardworking families are being hit in the wallet from all sides - at the gas pump, at the grocery store and heating their homes," he said. "A federal carbon tax would make it even more difficult for working families and small businesses to make ends meet, which is why I'm co-sponsoring a resolution opposing a carbon tax.
"Many businesses along the Ohio River are already struggling to keep their doors open because of the rising price of electricity caused by the Obama administration's war on coal. A carbon tax would further increase the cost of electricity, which could force energy-intensive manufacturers to shed even more jobs, or shut down altogether."