Election day in New York City, November 4, 1997. A cold wind whips through the streets of East Harlem, but sun peeks through billowy clouds and rain is nowhere in sight. A chipper young campaign worker stands on the corner of 125th Street handing out flyers for a city council candidate. She's hopeful about turnout. "I think people are going to vote because the weather is nice," she predicts. A few blocks away, on 120th Street, dutiful citizensmost of them oldertrickle into a dilapidated elementary school that serves as a polling place.
Many people think of Oregon as a liberal bastion: an "ecotopia" where environmental protection is a priority, the law permits the terminally ill to choose death over protracted suffering, and citizens once voted by initiative for the highest state minimum wage in the country.
Rising concern about the environment and selective public acceptance of new taxes have fostered new interest at both the state and federal levels in using the tax system to address environmental problems. Florida has a new tax to discourage the use of non-recycled or "virgin" newsprint. In Minnesota and Washington laws were enacted last year imposing high user fees on agricultural chemicals that contaminate groundwater supplies. On Capitol Hill new taxes have been proposed that are aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions by cars.