Editor’s note: This column will appear periodically and may be written by various residents.
By Melanie Lamaga
Organizer, Palms to Pines Chapter of Citizens Climate Lobby
For years, polls have showed that a significant majority of Americans are alarmed about climate change and want the government to do more — yet legislation to address the problem seemed out of reach. That changed on Aug. 16, when President Biden signed The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) into law.
Although the IRA includes provisions on drilling that demonstrate the ongoing power of the oil and gas industry, this bill represents the single-largest investment in climate action in U.S. history and contains additional provisions that will benefit the American economy, households, and small businesses.
The Inflation Reduction Act will:
• Create a net reduction in the federal deficit of $300 billion (on top of the 1.7 trillion in reductions already projected for this year).
• Lower average energy bills by $500 to $1,000 per year by helping families switch from higher cost fossil fuels (which are driving inflation) to cheaper, cleaner options.
• Lower health care costs by:
Saving the average Affordable Care Act enrollee $800/year.
Allowing Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices.
Requiring drug companies to rebate medication price increases that are higher than inflation.
Capping out-of-pocket prescription drug costs for seniors at $2,000 annually, saving roughly a million seniors about $1,000 each year.
• Create manufacturing jobs: By investing more than $60 billion in businesses, the bill will spur domestic production of batteries, solar panels, wind turbines and more, creating millions of clean-energy jobs.
• Invest in environmental justice initiatives: to assist communities who have experienced dangerous longstanding environmental and health threats.
• Close corporate tax loopholes. Every corporation with at least $1 billion worth of profits will pay a minimum of 15% of their profits in taxes, putting an end to the practice of large, profitable companies who pay no taxes at all.
• Crack down on wealthy tax cheats. Increased funding for the IRS will be directed toward seeking revenue from taxpayers and large corporations making more than $400,000 a year who have used loopholes to avoid paying their fair share.
• Protect families and small business. This legislation is not funded by tax increases on small business or working families making under $400,000 (roughly 98% of all Americans).
• Provide over $4 billion to the Interior Department’s Bureau of Reclamation for Western drought mitigation and resilience programs, national water programs and emergency drought funding.
• Reduce carbon emissions by roughly 40% by 2030 through an historic climate investment in clean energy. This includes 10 years of tax credits for modifications like heat pumps and rooftop solar, and provides $4,000 in consumer tax credits to buy used electric vehicles.
Citizens Climate Lobby is a non-partisan, non-profit groups dedicated to climate solutions. If you’d like to join us to help ensure a livable world, sign up at www.citizensclimatelobby.org or email [email protected]