Polluters get a free ride now; some states making them pay for their climate mess
Some states are figuring out they ought to charge those companies a fee for their pollution to not only get them to figure out how to pollute less (since now it's getting expensive) but also to pay for other parts of the public sector. The latest initiative is from Washington Governor Jay Inslee - his cap-and-trade proposal would charge 130 or so big companies and generate about a billion dollars a year.
Washington State could join California which has been charging carbon polluters in a quarterly auction to set the price for years.
Illinois should do the same thing. If we charged our oil refineries and major manufacturers a fair price for their pollution, we'd not only quit subsidizing our polluters but we'd be able to help pay for the backbone of our low-pollution economy: the CTA and Metra. These trains carry 2 million people every day but the backlog for maintenance is far larger than what we're budgeted to pay for. Makes sense to pay for the maintenance (and expansion) of low-pollution public transportation by finally kicking the polluters off the free ride bus.
If Washington State could generate a billion and we're about twice their size....we might be able to solve our transit funding shortfalls in an elegant policy combination.