To mark Earth Day, Congressman John K. Delaney, D-Md., said he plans to introduce legislation later this spring to tax greenhouse gas emissions in response to climate change concerns.

The Tax Pollution, Not Profits Act would establish a tax on greenhouse gas emissions. The revenues would be used to  provide monthly payments to low-income and middle-class households, and reduce the corporate tax rate to increase employment and reduce consumer costs. The revenue would also be used to fund job training, early retirement and health care benefits for coal workers.

“Climate change is the greatest environmental threat of our time,” Delaney said in a statement. “It is a threat to American jobs and our economy, it is a threat to our food and water supply, and it is a threat to public health and national security. Climate change is real and it is imperative that we do something about it. We must be honest: this is a big problem that demands a big solution. By taxing carbon and using the bulk of the proceeds to improve U.S. competitiveness, we can use one of the most powerful engines on the planet, free-market enterprise and innovation, to create the new energy solutions we need.”

The bill would establish a tax on greenhouse gas emissions at $30 per metric ton of carbon dioxide or its equivalent in 2015, increasing each subsequent year at 4 percent above inflation. In turn, the legislation would reduce the corporate tax rate from 35 to 28 percent to help companies mitigate higher energy costs.

The bill would also create a multibillion-dollar aid program administered by the Department of Labor to assist workers in the coal industry who might be displaced as a result of the legislation. The assistance could include worker retraining programs, financial assistance with relocation expenses, health, early retirement and other benefits.

To keep low- and middle-income households from being negatively affected by the costs of transitioning to new energy sources, a portion of the revenues collected from the pollution tax would be redirected to low-income and middle-class working families via an Energy Refund.

Households at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty line would receive direct monthly payments to offset the increased energy costs. Households between 150 to 200 percent of the federal poverty line would receive a reduced monthly payment on a sliding scale. Households over 200 percent of the poverty level would be eligible for a refundable tax credit, with the benefits also on a sliding scale.

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