February 6, 2019
For Immediate Release
Media Contacts:
Lou Ogden
Rural, Coastal & Mid-Willamette voters want to address climate issues, but oppose proposals that cost-shift energy, gas costs of large corporations onto consumers

TUALATIN, OR.  – Unified Business Oregon (UBO) released a poll today that gauges voter sentiment about Cap & Trade proposals being considered by the Oregon Legislature. The poll surveyed 613 likely registered voters in communities encompassing rural, coastal, and mid-Willamette Valley House and Senate Districts. The poll found that while voters across the political spectrum are interested in protecting the environment, they draw a line at legislative proposals which increase utility bills and gas prices for consumers.

Lou Ogden, Executive Director for Unified Business Oregon, said his members were interested in understanding the perspective of Oregonians in communities where there would be a disproportionate impact on more price-sensitive voters if the current Cap & Trade proposal were to pass.

“A ‘Cap & Trade’ proposal is really nothing more than a tax hit to middle income families and small businesses. When you explain to voters what’s at stake for their checkbook, a majority of them don’t approve of a policy that will benefit special interests and shift the cost-burden for addressing environmental concerns to the everyday consumer.”

Ogden noted that UBO members have expressed concerns that this new proposal comes on the heels of a $900 million-dollar Business Energy Tax Credit failure, and a Low Carbon Fuel Standard law where Oregon state agencies won’t transparently show how the policy is impacting consumers or disclose which corporations are benefitting.

“After witnessing the incredible lack of oversight and accountability with past programs like BETC, it’s shocking that lawmakers would rush through another poorly-designed plan without demonstrable environmental impact but one which will most assuredly cost Oregonians more on their winter heating bills and in the cost of their commutes to work.”

Ogden said UBO specifically wanted to get insight from Senate districts equally represented by both Republican and Democratic lawmakers, and in areas outside of Portland. Ogden said that a decision by lawmakers to take the Cap & Trade policy on the road for input from outside of the Metro-area was a smart choice.

"It's important to bring a policy concept this big directly to the people who will be most impacted. They don't have expensive lobbyists who can get them carved out of the legislation. We don't think it's fair that all businesses aren't being treated equally in the current proposal. Lawmakers should have to personally explain to the fisherman and the farmer why they are going to be taxed, and why large corporations in the urban core will get a free pass."

While the poll found initial support for Cap & Trade was marginal, with only 51% of voters supporting the legislation and 43% opposed, those numbers flipped to 52% in opposition when voters were made aware that they would directly bear the cost of the legislation. 
“Oregonians care deeply about the environment, but they want to see balanced proposals that directly target polluters, reward companies who have brought their emissions to neutral or net-positive carbon reduction, and that won’t punish everyday Oregonians with higher energy costs,” Ogden stated. “UBO doesn’t believe the current Cap & Trade measure meets those objectives, so the listening tour and significant modifications to the bill are definitely in order.”
Clout Research conducted a telephone survey of 613 likely voters in four Oregon State Senate Districts regarding environmental and public policy issues. The survey was conducted January 21-23, 2019 and included interviews with voters in both landline and mobile phone-only households. It carries a confidence interval of 95% and a margin of error of +/- 3.93 percentage points.
To see a copy of the polling memo and the topline poll results, please visit http://cloutpolitical.com/poll-oregon-voters-agree-climate-is-changing-but-are-doubtful-of-legislative-solutions/