Wednesday, June 12 marked an emotional day in the Oregon State Capitol. Cap and trade, a program that has received equal amounts of scorn and praise from stakeholders and onlookers, advanced through the joint committee on ways and means on a strict party line vote, the final stop before full consideration by each chamber.
The session began with a clear signal from leadership that a version of cap and trade would be made law in 2019. What was unclear were the nuanced policy for various industry groups and the overall impact to Oregon counties, particularly surrounding the fuel tax revenue split between state and local governments currently set at 50 percent distribution to the state, 30 percent to counties, and 20 percent to cities. From the bill’s inception, this split was threatened. Association of Oregon Counties (AOC) Interim Executive Director, Mike Eliason pursued AOC’s position on this division and, working with other stakeholders, was at least able to help ensure 50 percent of the revenue flowing to the newly created “Transportation Decarbonization Sub-account” would be allocated to local governments.