The Brookings Institution and World Resources Institute have published a short, easy to read analysis of the operation of a tax swap: 15$/ton carbon tax for an offsetting reduction in the payroll tax. It works:
As the new Congress convenes, both Democratic and Republican lawmakers are proposing limits on greenhouse gas emissions. Most of these proposals are for carbon cap and trade systems similar to the European Union Emissions Trading System.
A carbon tax is another way to limit emissions. This policy brief describes how a carbon tax could be implemented and presents an analysis of a Green Employment Tax Swap (GETS). Under this proposal, a national tax on carbon emissions is paired with a reduction in the payroll tax. In particular, the brief assesses the impact of a tax of $15 per metric ton of carbon dioxide (CO2), which is used to rebate the federal payroll tax on the fi rst $3,660 of earnings per worker. This reform is both revenue-neutral and distributionally neutral.