The high-water mark for carbon tax progress in the Midwest was reached a decade ago, when the Minnesota Legislature considered, and rejected, the nation’s first state carbon tax bill.
The Midwest’s heavy dependence on coal-fired electricity — from both local and Western coal — will likely make carbon taxing an "iffy" proposition here, at least compared to the Northeast and the West. Conversely, the region’s potential to make its agricultural base a source of biofuels could lead to political support for taxing gasoline and other carbon fuels. For now, however, there is far more interest in subsidizing ethanol and other biofuels rather than for cultivating the "market pull" from putting a price on carbon.
We will report on state and local initiatives for carbon taxing in the Midwest as they develop.