37 巻 (2007) 1 号 p. 89-101
Previously, it was difficult for local governments to formulate and implement original local taxes. However, the revision of the Local Tax Law in 2000 facilitated the formulation and implementation of original local taxes by local governments. Accordingly, Mie and other prefectures began to impose taxes on industrial waste (hereafter referred to as “industrial waste taxes”).
In Japan, each industry is responsible for disposing its own waste. They either treat the waste in their own plants or entrust this task to licensed contractors. Since most industries do not have their own plants, they entrust the treatment of waste to licensed contractors.
Environmental taxes are primarily imposed in order to ensure a better environment; the tax revenues are of secondary importance. Therefore, while discussing the nature and effectiveness of industrial waste taxes, it is important to verify whether or not these taxes affected the environment through the changes in prices that resulted from their imposition. Previous researches have shown that merely such a discussion is insufficient; therefore, we attempt to analyze the effectiveness of these taxes using practical data.
It is argued that the main effect of imposing industrial waste taxes has been the emergence of a motivation to reduce waste. However, since industries are already required to pay a disposal treatment fee to the contractors, it is possible that such a motivation existed before the imposition of these taxes. It is natural to presume that imposing a tax incentivizes a shift from undertaking taxable actions to tax-free actions. For example, in Mie prefecture, ordinary waste treatment facilities are taxable; however, improved treatment facilities that enable a recycling ratio of over 90% are tax-free. In general, although the latter treatment facilities are more expensive, the imposition of these taxes may result in them being more lucrative for industries.
In this study, we sequentially obtained practical data on each contractor that undertakes industrial waste treatment in Mie prefecture. Thereafter, we attempted to compare the number of orders for taxable facilities and tax-free facilities before and after the imposition of the tax. Consequently, we found that in general, the orders for the tax-free facilities exceeded those for the taxable facilities. Further study is required regarding the tax rate and the outflow of waste to other tax-free areas.
JEL classification: Q28, Q58, R00