With NO Bipartisan Support and ONLY Bipartisan Opposition, the Senate President could once again Replace Senator Johnson in order to Vote Cap & Trade out of Ways & Means

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Representative David Brock Smith

Is Cap & Trade going to be forced upon the hardworking families of Oregon without your opportunity to vote on it?


This morning at 9:00 am, SB 1530 the majority party’s Cap & Trade Tax is scheduled for a vote in Ways & Means. The bill does not have the support of the current seated Ways & Means committee members to pass out of committee, as Senator Johnson has been a vocal opponent of the bill. Last session when this was the case, the Senate President removed Senator Johnson from the committee and voted in favor in her place. Senator Johnson is a well respected and longtime public servant, having served 20 years in the legislature and will be Chairing the Ways & Means meeting this morning. There is great concern that the Senate President will again replace her to vote Cap & Trade out of committee. I believe he instead should support the amendment to refer Cap & Trade to the voters of the state.

Remember, Cap & Trade (SB 1530 & 4167) has NO bipartisan bicameral support and ONLY has bipartisan bicameral opposition. 

So lets talk about the bill for a moment: How much is it going to cost Oregonians? Well, we still do not know as of early this morning on the Revenue Impact of Proposed Legislation statement, it only says “Further Analysis Required”. That is correct, no one knows.

revenue analysis

Click Here for the Link

There are not only a lot of unknowns in SB 1530, but there is a lack of transparency as well. Not only in the process leading up to this point but also within the bill that make documents relating to the legislation exempt from public disclosure. READ THAT AGAIN!

The Open Government Impact Statement for SB 1530 reads: This measure exempts from public disclosure, unless the requester can show by clear and convincing evidence that the public interest requires disclosure, the following information when obtained by the State of Oregon in implementing the Oregon Greenhouse Gas Initiative: information related to an entity’s application for and participation in greenhouse gas allowance auctions; information related to the holding, transfer or surrender of compliance instruments; information on the manufacturing output of goods; and information received from retail electricity customers in determining the retirement of allowances for electricity service suppliers. Guess who gets to decide if "the requester can show by clear and convincing evidence that the public interest requires disclosure"? Un-Elected Bureaucrats that answer to the majority party!

Further, the Impact Statement says: Legislative Counsel has not adopted standards for drafting measures that establish exemptions from disclosure of public records.

That is right folks, the majority party has drafted a bill that not only exempts every document relating to anyone involved in the market from a Public Records Request, but they haven’t even adopted the standards for how they will deal with these exemptions other than to tell you that you cannot see them.

Click Here for the Link

What is the legislation going to cost you in tax dollars that you have already paid to the state just in the initial set up for the program? Well, to set up the bureaucracy in ’21, it’s budgeted to cost you nearly $23 million dollars. Could your schools and classrooms use those dollars? Your streets full of potholes? How about reducing fees? Taking care of our foster youth?

fiscal impact

Click Here for the Link

I recently put together two Floor Letters with information regarding carbon, emissions and sequestration. Here is some of that information.

Colleagues, let’s talk about carbon in Oregon and Globally. To start this conversation, let us remember what our state experts have said on the topic of Oregon’s carbon reduction: Oregon produces 0.14% of greenhouse emissions on the global scale, this according to data from the Oregon Global Warming Commission. Even the Director of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality; during my questioning in committee, agreed saying, “Representative Brock Smith you are correct. That Oregon's portion of global carbon emissions is, I'll use the word minuscule."  When Dr. Philip Mote, Director, Oregon Climate Services and Oregon Climate Change Research Institute was asked by me what the impact would be on the global climate if Oregon were to reduce their emissions to zero, he responded the impact would be, “Imperceptible.”

Did you know that nearly half of our anthropogenic emissions (which are emissions created by people, their driving, industries, business, etc.) are already sequestered by our forests in this state, e v e r y  s i n g l e  y e a r! The Oregon Grass Seed Industry in our state alone, sequesters over 2 million metric tons of carbon annually according to a study by OSU. But it gets better colleagues, A LOT better. You just need to have ALL the data.

I am the House Republican appointed to the Global Warming Commission. I want to thank Rachel Dawson of the Cascade Policy Institute for her great work crunching these numbers. While the Commission tracks per capita GHG emissions, the Commission does not use per capita estimates to determine where we are in relation to the target. Moreover, the Commission does not make per capita estimates readily available to legislators.

cascade policy per capita emissions

When considering emissions in aggregate, Oregon produced 13% more total emissions in 2017 compared to 1990 levels, and thus appears to be failing to meet the target. HB 3543 (the governing legislation that started all of this) however, HB 3543 does not indicate whether GHGs should be measured in the aggregate or on a per capita basis. This is an important distinction given Oregon’s population growth since the legislation passed in 2007 and the overall greater population growth since 1990. 

When measured on a per capita basis, Oregon GHG emissions in 2017 were actually 21% lower than 1990 levels. We have more than doubled the 10% emissions reduction goal and done so—three years ahead of the deadline. When using only data provided by the Commission through the year 2016, per capita emissions have declined by 22.8%. Although Oregon’s population grew by over 1.3 million people, emissions continued to decline. All prior to ANY climate or carbon reduction legislation implemented by the legislature. Colleagues, the data clearly reveals emissions across the state have continued to decline over time!

cascade policy GDP table

As Oregon, our industries, GDP and population continues to grow, emissions have continued to decline. This decline has again occurred prior to the implementation of costly GHG (Green House Gas) reduction legislation.

cascade policy GDP graph

Colleagues, the data is clear. Oregonians and their industries have; in spite of our tremendous growth, continued to reduce GHG emissions. In fact, Oregon is the 5th lowest carbon emissions in the US and we're less than one percent away from being the 2nd lowest in the Nation! 

EAI state per capita emissions graph

Click Here for the Link

Alright, so what else can we do besides Cap & Trade? I'm glad you asked as I have come up with alternatives that will reduce emissions, provide incentives and bring Oregon and their natural and working lands industry investments, all while continuing to reduce emissions and sequester carbon. 

Oregon GHG Graph

First, as you can see by the graph, the largest GHG emissions sector in the state comes from transportation. But nothing in SB 1530 (or the House version in HB 4167) does anything to reduce transportation emissions, other than to continually increase the taxes on fuel you purchase at the pump, which will cause everything you purchase to increase in cost.

There are 1,442,117 registered passenger vehicles in the tri-county region of Portland. There are less than 20,000 registered electric and hybrid vehicles within the same area. Traffic and congestion increases the release of emissions within the Portland/Metro area, causing increased air quality hazards. These air quality hazards cause bans on the use of wood for heat during these cold nights, impacting our lower income families that rely on inexpensive wood heat to keep their homes and families warm. (SB 1530 will increase heating, natural gas, electricity and energy costs) 

ENTER HB 4151  Click Here for the Bill 

HB 4151 is the only Bipartisan Bicameral Carbon Reducing Legislation in the Capitol, but since it's not Cap & Trade and was drafted by a member of the minority party, I received a courtesy move to Revenue where it has sat for weeks. So what does it do?

"Increases rate of privilege tax imposed on Oregon motor vehicle dealers upon retail sale of taxable motor vehicle and rate of use tax imposed on storage, use or other consumption in this state of taxable motor vehicle purchased at retail. Applies to any taxable motor vehicle sold at retail in any jurisdiction within or outside this state that is registered by purchaser residing within county any part of which is situated within boundaries of metropolitan service district to address within district] county. Directs revenue from increase in privilege tax to be used to supplement rebates otherwise made under zero-emission and electric vehicle rebate program and Charge Ahead Oregon Program with respect to taxable motor vehicles registered by purchaser residing within county any part of which is situated within boundaries of metropolitan service district to address within county. Requires electric companies to invest amount in programs to support acceleration of transportation electrification that is equal to no less than one-half of one percent of total rates collected annually from retail electricity consumers located within part of service area that is within Portland metropolitan service district. Modifies provisions relating to transportation electrification. Directs Public Utility Commission to submit annual report to Legislative Assembly on programs."

In short, it increases the tax on the purchase of a new vehicle ONLY on those that register their vehicle within the metropolitan service district of Portland. It adds the increase to additional EV/Hybrid vehicle incentive rebates for purchase of a new vehicle. Thus, someone making less than 120% of area median income within the metropolitan service district of Portland could have a combined $10,000 dollar EV rebate. It also increases the electric utility rates ONLY on services residing within the metropolitan service district of Portland. These increases are then to be used for the acceleration of transportation electrification and grid modernization within the same area of the metropolitan service district of Portland. 

Portland has the majority of the passenger vehicles, they have the traffic and congestion that increases the amount of carbon emissions from stop and go traffic and they have the density to roll out EV charging infrastructure faster, cheaper and more efficiently than anywhere else in the state. This bill will reduce emissions by assisting Portland residents in transitioning to EV faster and it does not impact anyone outside of Portland, other than to help provide more charging stations for visitors with electric vehicles. 

Are there other ideas? Of course there are. Although I was left out of the process that developed SB 1530 over the interim, I drafted amendments to the bill, one of which would have carved out the coastal counties from the increase in fuel. Although the bill does delay the impact of the fuel tax to Curry and Coos Counties until 2028, the other coastal counties will be impacted as the bill is implemented. This will cause serious hardships on our working families. 

I have drafted an amendment for both SB 1530 and HB 4167. 
Click Here for the Link

What does it do: 

  1. Define in statute the measurement of GHG emissions will be per capita.
  2. Includes the sequestration benefits of our natural and working lands across the state.
  3. Creates an Oregon Carbon Credits Offset Program for investments in further sequestration.

Per Capita measurement is a better standard when measuring emissions as it calculates the fluctuations in population. Including the sequestration benefits of our natural and working lands in the emissions calculation is important for a number of reasons, but the first is that we are accounting for their emissions during management, we should also account for their sequestration benefits. This only makes sense as we have our forests and farm lands, wheat fields and grass lands that sequester carbon. We can't build on them and the environmental for profit non-profits file lawsuits when we attempt to manage our forest resources to prevent catastrophic wildfires and sequester carbon in wood products.

We are a carbon sink state and by setting up the Oregon Carbon Credits Offset Program, we can go to carbon neutral, sell the carbon credits beyond carbon zero to other states that are carbon/GHG intensive states. We would be leader in a National Carbon Program, while generating resources to invest in continuing to lower carbon emissions in Oregon.

Recent comments from House Republican Leader Christine Drazan:

“Given that we had a governor resign over influence peddling accusations on environmental issues, or that we are coming off the recent corruption and fraud of the last special environmental project with the Business Energy Tax Credit program, or that our public records advocate recently resigned because of pressure from the governor’s office, the last thing this bill should do is exempt itself from public records disclosure.”-Sen. Alan Olsen

Senator Olsen is right. This bill doubles down on the supermajority’s abuse of power. Adding to the Democrats’ insulting argument that this legislation is just too complicated for Oregonians to understand, lawmakers have been in session for three full weeks and the Democrats have failed to schedule a single budget bill. They are treating this session like it is the launch of their campaigns rather than an opportunity to approve budgets, adopt technical fixes and pass consensus legislation.

We have 35 short days to do the people’s work and instead of working together on the many issues that have strong bipartisan support they are determined to marginalize and ignore working Oregonians.

I continue to engage, voice my concerns and fight for a fair process-but Democrats have made it clear they don’t want our input on climate, they want our presence to facilitate their agenda. They don’t want the value of our voices, they want to make deals with special interests and push this legislation through regardless of constitutional concerns—despite the fact it is dogged by bipartisan opposition.

My colleagues across the aisle are abusing the short session with rigged votes and an artificial process. Professional nonpartisan staff is muzzled, legislative scrutiny is all but absent.

I am tired of hearing we won’t know the impact till it is passed. The abuse of power is rampant. Oregonians deserve to have the final word on this dirty deal.

Click Here for the Editorial

Recent Comments from our State Senator for District 1, Dallas Heard:

Monday morning 9am will prove to be a test of character for many members of the Legislature. SB 1530 (cap and trade tax) will be up for the vote in the joint Full Ways and Means committee. I hope to see hundreds of you there tomorrow. We need to continue to make our voices heard in a peaceful but steadfast manner all the way to the November elections. The Democrats have shown me in all of the now 6 legislative sessions I have been a part of, that they do not consider rural Oregonians to be equal citizens with themselves. The Democrats can’t say they support equality, tolerance and co-existence while they repeatedly run over the rights of anyone who thinks or is different than them including some from their own party. They must be exposed by all of us who have been their victims for the past 40 years in rural Oregon. The media in large part continues to provide cover for these leftist Democrats by constantly running headlines that suggest it is the Republicans fault for the session being in doubt, but it is in fact the SUPER MAJORITY DEMOCRATS who refuse to honor the intent of the voters that these short sessions be used to simply pass technical fix and budget adjustment legislation. It is the Democratic majority who has refused to bring forward the budgets so we can approve those bills and move forward with governing Oregon properly. If the short session is brought to a stop, it will be by the Democrats who have complete control over the process and have become so arrogant that they actually believe they have the right to take our freedom and liberty away from us, simply because they believe themselves to be the higher educated and frankly higher born citizens. Monday will be a day that will answer many questions on what kind of character some of our most powerful members of the Senate possess.

For any of my Democratic colleagues who read this and are offended please just remember this: it was you and your party members that brought the aggressive actions against rural Oregonians who are barely holding on economically. It is you that always say you know better as you force yourselves on us and our culture in rural Oregon. It is you who has total and complete control over the political process of the legislature and yet you show no true restraint. You are the party (Democrats) of the rich and powerful. You are the party of stripping your fellow citizens rights away. We will not be your well trained dogs anymore! If the Democrats want anyone to believe they are anything but a movement of elitist dictators they should show restraint tomorrow morning and NOT RIG THE VOTE!



To date, over 26 Oregon Counties have passed Proclamations or Resolutions opposing these Cap & Trade schemes. Let us not forget the short time ago that this state was embroiled in a conterversary regarding these schemes that forced a Governor to resign. Further, let us not forget that the majority leadership of this state and their agencies don't have a good track record with these types of programs, with the recent scandal regarding the BETC.

Investigation finds ODOE mismanaged a billion-dollar energy tax credit program

Click Here for the Link

Many of you probably have not received this data, and that is unfortunate. HB 2020 Oregon Climate Action Program’s Statement of Purpose included, “To provide assistance to households, businesses and workers impacted by the transition in this state to an economic system that allows for the State of Oregon to achieve the greenhouse gas reduction goals set forth in ORS 468A.205.”

As the data above clearly demonstrates, we have not only currently reached these goals but have exceeded them. Oregonians and our industries are already leading the nation in reducing emissions while growing our economy, without over burdensome regulations through legislation that changes the economic system in this state, taking the very financial resources of our working families and redistributing them to “provide assistance” to others in this state.

Further, the state coffers have over $600 million in excess taxes from all of you, and this doesn't include the $1.4 Billion that will be in the kicker back to taxpayers. The majority party can provide investments and incentives for Oregonians with the $600 million in excess resources and further reduce carbon in this state.

Lastly, the majority party controls everything that happens in the Capitol. When bills are scheduled, if they move and in what committee they are assigned. The majority party has yet to allow budget fixes and technical tweaks (what the short session was meant for, and not large complex legislation) to move forward in this short session. There is NO reason this bill cannot wait until later in the session, they have chosen to move it now. 

Let's stop this madness and let our working families, industries and economy continue to grow while reducing GHG/carbon emissions. This has again been happening for decades without state governments intervention. 

let them vote


The majority party at minimum, should refer this to the people for their vote! If teenagers that testify in committee can understand it, then so can our rural Oregonians!



Yours truly,

Representative David Brock Smith

Representative David Brock Smith

House District 1
Curry, Coos, Douglas and Josephine Counties
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1401
Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE, H-379, Salem, Oregon 97301
Email: Rep.DavidBrockSmith@oregonlegislature.gov
Website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/smithd