BERLIN (AP) — The Austrian government has announced plans to reform the country's tax system in an effort to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
The government said Sunday that it will introduce a new carbon tax beginning on July 1, 2022, and will return that money to residents in the form of a “climate bonus.”
Starting next year, Austrians will find themselves having to pay 30 euros (almost $35) per ton of CO2 — a cost that's likely to be added to consumer bills by companies. That will rise to 55 euros ($64) per ton in 2025.
The government expects to generate about 5 billion euros ($5.8 billion) from the tax by 2025.
Each resident in Austria will get an annual reimbursement, with the exact amount determined by where they live to ensure those in rural regions without good public transport don't lose out. Children are entitled to half their parents' amount — so a family of two adults and two children in Vienna could expect to get 300 euros ($358) for example.
The goal is to encourage people to opt for climate-friendly forms of transportation and heating by making carbon-intensive choices more expensive, without adding to the overall tax burden.
The governing coalition of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz's conservative People's Party and the environmentalist Greens also announced income tax cuts, a reduction in some health insurance charges and other measures that mainly benefit families and low-and-medium income groups.
It also plans to reduce taxes for companies, particularly those in energy-intensive industries that will be hit hardest by the new carbon tax.
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