Carbon tax plus rebate is a winner
Municipal leaders, scientists and worried businessmen from four counties are meeting in Miami Beach this week to ponder how to hold back the rising sea.
We could build seawalls, but those wouldn't hold the sea from actually rising up right through the limestone below us. An analogy is one of a sinking boat. We don't just need to make the gunwales higher; before we can bail it out successfully, we need to plug the hole. Our hole comes from burning fossil fuels.
Government needs to act. We need legislation to slow the production of carbon dioxide. Since a way to slow the use of anything is to require people to pay more for it, one proposal would put a steadily rising fee on carbon-burning fuel sources. Since this would drive up the cost of living, this proposal also says that all monies from the carbon fees would be returned to the citizens, equally, in monthly dividend checks.
This is a carbon tax with an economic stimulus. If you want to lower your carbon footprint, you will have money to help you.
Susan Darovec, Bradenton
Duke problem goes deeper | Oct. 1, letter
Working for consumers
This week, the Times published a letter to the editor regarding the recent reports on Duke Energy and the Public Service Commission. The letter stated that standing up for the interests of the people I represent amounted to "fake righteous indignation." It also made an error by implying that I voted for the original legislation that allowed for nuclear cost recovery. In fact, I was not in the Legislature at that time.
Yet, I completely understand the frustration that consumers are feeling, frustrations that lead to such a letter. People believe that legislators are motivated by many factors except for the one that should matter: representing the people who elected them to serve.
November will mark my second year in elected office. Last year, after being approached by people in my district who have struggled for almost 20 years with serious water-quality issues, I proposed the Consumer Water Protection Act of 2014. That act became law this summer, and it forces the PSC to give people a real remedy when a water utility is not doing the right thing. I did not get this done on my own. It took the support of many other legislators, so it demonstrates that I serve with others in Tallahassee who are genuinely interested in protecting consumers and making sure we have accountability and fairness.
I look forward to working with these legislators on language that will protect electric utility customers during the upcoming session.
State Sen. Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby
Outcry against Duke builds | Oct. 1
Some of our Republican lawmakers now think "enough is enough" concerning Duke Energy sticking it to the people of Florida. Five weeks before the election, they come up with this concern.
Where was the concern during the 2014 legislative session? Or during the sessions of 2013, 2012 or 2011?
Are citizens really supposed to believe that, if these legislators are re-elected, they will do things differently next year, when all they have done in the past four years is accept big donations from Duke Energy? I don't.
Robert G. Bond, St. Petersburg
Judge deeds, not words
I love the sudden "election season conversions" of our incumbent legislators who have been feeding at the Duke Energy banquet table for years by doing their bidding for them in Tallahassee, but now, right before the election, they say let's "hold them accountable" or "take them to the woodshed."
These same incumbents should have voted to end Duke's nuclear subsidy giveaway at least two years ago (and should never have passed it in the first place), and certainly they should demand refunds from the billing cycle scandal.
But frankly, I'd be a bigger believer if these newly converted GOP legislators would: (1) send back every dollar of Duke campaign contributions; (2) pass legislation that doesn't allow Duke and the other monopolized utilities to be so inefficient with our electrical grid (no longer should their corporate missions be: "Go ahead and waste more so that we get to sell more"); and (3) most importantly, take the legislatively created financial handcuffs off our state that prevent us from moving forward with promoting solar energy and wind farms.
Only when I see all of those things will I know that it's something more than politics as usual.
Until then, if you vote these incumbents back in, don't be surprised if they will have another sudden change of heart the day after the election when Duke opens up its checkbook again.
Gary Gibbons, Tampa
Bus service flexibility
How can a train system be as flexible as a bus system? As ridership increases or decreases, bus schedules can be changed. Once the tracks are built, if the traffic is not what is claimed to be, then what?
Also, the Greenlight Pinellas plan will remove a portion of property taxes. In essence, the guy with the $5 million home will be paying less taxes, as the burden for transit will be shifted to those who spend all their income simply to live (via a sales tax increase). The average person will be paying more, while rich landowners pay less.
Jim Demmy, Kenneth City
White House security
Locked door: It's a start
In this post-9/11 era, I have to practically strip down to my underwear in order to board a plane. Yet until this latest intrusion, the front door to the White House was left unlocked?
Kenneth Holder, Lutz