Assemblymember Cahill, alum, returns to campus to speak with students

State Assemblymember Kevin Cahill ’77 (Political Science) returned to campus to discuss a carbon tax in New York at a recent SUNY New Paltz forum. The event emphasized student advocacy work and furthered the College’s longstanding relationship with alumnus Cahill.

“As the world grapples with climate change, now is the time to take action and implement proven solutions,” said Cahill, former Chair of the Assembly Energy Committee. “Experience teaches that when the state places a financial disincentive on using fossil fuels, we can we see changes in behavior and reduction in pollution.”

The talk, titled “Tax Pollution: How a Carbon Tax Can Save the Planet, Create Jobs and Reduce Poverty,” included Cahill, Brian Obach, professor of sociology and director of the Environmental Studies Program and Sara Hsu, associate professor of economics.

Professor Hsu’s New Paltz students conceptualized the promotion of a carbon tax back in 2013 and subsequently wrote to Cahill’s office for support. Now, this idea has transitioned into proposed legislation Assembly Bill A.107 which creates the structure for a tax, as well as the collection and release of credits to assist consumers across the state who are impacted by the program.

The goal is to encourage private citizens, utilities and companies to reduce their energy consumption and reliance on products that produce greenhouse gases.

“Assemblymember Cahill has been at the forefront of much important environmental policy initiatives and we are excited to highlight his work with Professor Hsu on this effort to combat climate change,” said Obach. “The experts here have much to contribute to developing sound state policy, and having responsive elected leaders willing to use that expertise makes for ideal collaborations.”

The forum, held March 8 on campus in the College Terrace and sponsored by the Environmental Studies Program, was also cosponsored by the Department of Economics, the Environmental Task Force, the Office of Campus Sustainability, The Benjamin Center, NYPIRG, the Department of Political Science, the Climate Action Coalition, the Climate Action Club and Students for Sustainable Agriculture. Faculty, staff, community leaders and the general public attended.