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Begich says he doesn't support a carbon tax, takes aim at Koch brothers

Posted: March 5, 2014 - 12:01am

JUNEAU — U.S. Sen. Mark Begich’s campaign is running radio ads taking aim at Charles Koch and David Koch, the billionaire backers of the conservative group Americans for Prosperity.

The group, in an ad that began running last month, said Begich is on record supporting a carbon tax and urging Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to make it a priority. That claim stemmed from a 2010 letter Begich signed with 11 other senators.

The letter, which revolved around energy policy, included a line that read: “First, we believe the scale of this challenge dictates the need for a comprehensive solution that includes making polluters pay through a price on greenhouse gas emissions.” Americans for Prosperity, in announcing the ad buy, included a link to the letter with that sentence underlined.

Begich told reporters Monday that he does not support a carbon tax and did not agree with everything in the letter. He said his intent in signing was to make sure the Senate did not lose the discussion on climate change and a comprehensive energy plan.

Two fact-check organizations found the ad distorted or exaggerated Begich’s position.

Americans for Prosperity spokesman Levi Russell said Tuesday that the group is “very comfortable” with the contents of its ad and stands behind it.

Begich on Monday also took a swipe at the Koch brothers, which he said was an effort to provide “context” to who is behind the ad. Begich said they had no problem “firing” Alaskans and “leaving dirty water.” Flint Hills Resources, which is owned by Koch Industries Inc., recently announced plans to close the Flint Hills refinery at North Pole, citing the costs from the cleanup of the industrial chemical sulfolane as a major reason.

Begich, in his radio ad, refers to them as “billionaire outsiders” who turned their backs on Alaska. Begich campaign spokesman Max Croes said the ad began running Tuesday and will run for three weeks.

Russell said Begich is attempting to spin away from the issue of the carbon tax to something unrelated.

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Tom Leston
Tom Leston 03/05/14 - 10:55 am
Begich should support carbon tax

A multi-billion dollar company is complaining about the costs for cleaning up their mess in our state? Come on Parnell sue the Koch brothers, an industries cleanup costs should not be on the backs of the public. Americans for Prosperity should be booted out of our state.

Sen. Mark Begich should support the carbon tax, it will help balance the budget.
If we are serious about cutting the deficit and rebuilding the middle class then we should have a carbon tax. A carbon tax would help the economy, cut our health care costs, storm recovery costs and help save this planet. And just think, if these multi-billion dollar industries like the Koch brothers had to pay a tax for dumping their toxic wastes into our atmosphere then this would suddenly make alternative energies more affordable. Other countries, like Ireland, have already turned to carbon taxing and use these new revenues to reduce their labor taxes among other things thus creating a net gain for their economies. We need to do it here in the US.
What other industry dumps their waste for free? Time to replace the payroll tax with a carbon tax.

James Coleman
James Coleman 03/05/14 - 10:29 am
Help the middle class?

How does an additional tax help the middle class? All this so called "carbon tax" will do is reduce disposable income (what little the middle class has now). People are having a tough time making ends meet, deciding what to prioritize. Do I buy food, heating oil, or pay for my Obamacare? Lots of kids showing up at school hungry these mornings. I know, because I donate cereal. If this "carbon tax" passes, are you going to be donating food Mr. Leston?

Tom Leston
Tom Leston 03/05/14 - 11:06 am
Sorry Jim my posts got mixed

Sorry Jim my posts got mixed up. Did you read this part of my comment:
"countries, like Ireland, have already turned to carbon taxing and use these new revenues to reduce their labor taxes among other things thus creating a net gain for their economies"
Seems to me cutting labor taxes would work to create more jobs, and increase our wages. Carbon tax is certainly something we should do. We are behind the times on this.
A healthier environment would save lives and reduce over all health care costs which in turn keeps money in keeps money in the US treasury (to use on other things like education) and in our pockets. Why should a company that dumps millions of tons of toxic carbon annually get to do it for free. Do you pay a fee for dumping your waste? The public is picking up the tab for the damages caused by carbon: mega storms, health care, restoration, you name it.
The energy and extraction industries have created more billionaires than this world has ever seen, and its time these industries start paying for their waste.

Alexander  Madagascar
Alexander Madagascar 03/05/14 - 11:15 am
Carbon Taxes...

OK, let's get serious, call it what it is: a tax on the wealthy, not a way to "save our planet."

No matter how much the US goes green and reduces emissions, it won't have any noticeable effect as long as China is polluting at the rate they are.

All a carbon tax would do at this point is make manufacturing and business more costly to conduct here in the US, meaning (drum roll, please)....more jobs moving to China!

Tom Leston
Tom Leston 03/05/14 - 11:22 am
Alex - The energy and

Alex - The energy and extraction industries have created more billionaires than this world has ever seen, and it is time these industries start paying for their waste.
You may be against that, but I bet you, most people in this country are for it, and it is only a matter of time before the U.S. public figures this stuff out, and heads to the streets in protest.

Yes and we do need to close those tax loopholes and re-write a few trade agreements don't we.

Time for the public to WAKE UP and get angry.

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