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United States

Voters want environmental tax on waste and dirt

American voters want waste and dirt taxed more and jobs taxed less, according to a survey commissioned by the environmental group Friends of the Earth (FOE). The survey, released in late June, indicates that more than two out of three US voters favour environmental tax shifting. More than 70% of respondents say they would support a system that taxes polluting energy sources such as coal, petrol and diesel while taking the burden away from income and payroll. A majority also support a tax on air and water pollution. "Its the idea that we tax things we don't want -- the more you tax something the less you get," says Brian Dunkiel of FOE. He says Sweden successfully shifted the tax burden onto older and dirtier power plants in 1992, leading to the country meeting its goal of NOX reduction more cheaply than anticipated. British Prime Minister Tony Blair also suggests that lower taxes should be levied on less polluting vehicles. The survey was commissioned because of current debate about US tax policy, which has focused on a flat tax or national sales tax. "We wanted to show that there was another option," says Dunkiel. The group also released a new report "Citizens Guide to Environmental Tax Shifting" which shows that tax shifting is becoming more popular in the US.

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