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This is not a new idea and the proposal does not even address that. There is no proof that a carbon-based tax on fuel (gas) will produce change from a consumption perspective, unless it is high. And there is an alternative already in existence / at the pump (as in Brazil). Again, this proposal seems to assume that the problem facing this issue is simply a matter of governments realising they are stupid and had not thought of this. Has this proposal started with the fact that clearly this has always been an option on the table and not a new idea, but then articulated how the project would overcome political and social barriers, I would be more inclined to see it as a new idea and an appealing one. The Jduges would still have concerns about impact (versus fuel standards and investment in EV infrastructure for example).
The proposal is a smart version of an old idea but lacking in the details that make it salable. So much work has been done on gas taxes, VMT taxes, and tax swaps, that the author could have used a lit review to hone in on the most relevant details of the plan, and for example estimate the welfare and emissions impacts. A two-income family making $60k and driving 100 miles per week won't be made whole by EITC increases. With vehicle efficiency and electric vehicle uptake (much much more slowly in low-income households), how long until the tax swap dips below revenue neutral into revenue negative? The Judges felt that a gas tax proposal needs to be held to a higher standard than a novel idea (for the purposes of this contest).
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