What's the most overhyped, overused and therefore meaningless catchphrase of the decade? "Trans-fat free" might be in the running. "Low-carb" is so 2000. No, the word of the decade has got to be "green". Along with its buddies "eco" and "sustainable" (that's a huge one up in Whistler), it's being used to market everything, from pens to penthouses.And apparently, provincial budgets too.The B.C. government's newly-minted budget, revealed by Finance Minister Carole Taylor on Tuesday (Feb. 19), made much hay of a new "carbon tax" - a 2.4 cent-per-litre tax at the pumps this summer, set to increase to 7.2 cents per litre by 2010.Media reports made much of Taylor's wardrobe for the occasion -a green skirt and matching John Fluevog heels, in case you missed it - and that's fitting. Like her apparel, the budget she presented was merely green window-dressing.That's because, unlike Quebec, which collects a smaller carbon tax and then uses the money to fund green technologies, B.C.'s new carbon tax is "revenue neutral" - that is, the government isn't keeping a cent of the money it's taking at the pumps.Instead, it's giving it back in corporate, small business and personal income taxes, plus a lower-income Climate Action Credit (like a GST credit, but biodegradable).They're also handing out an instant $100 Climate Action Dividend this summer, which we're sure will be marked with a massive upswing in compact fluorescent lightbulb sales. Or maybe people will just use it to buy gas.The fact is, the much-vaunted "carbon tax" is not a climate action plan; it's just a tax shift. All this budget really does is move a portion of B.C.'s tax base from corporate and income taxes, which have automatic protections built in for lower-income people, to consumption taxes, which hit everyone equally, regardless of income, and require government handouts (like the proposed Climate Action Credit) to balance things out for lower-income residents.Consumption taxes are fairer in theory because those who buy more end up paying more, while those who have less will pay less in consumption taxes than they would in income taxes -and those who would pay no income tax anyway get a credit.But, by the government's own admission, the carbon tax is revenue-neutral. Which means that corporate B.C. is getting a $670 million tax break over the next three years which you and I will be paying for at the pump - 0.9 cents a litre this year, rising to 2.7 cents per litre by 2010.So we wouldn't be surprised if B.C.'s new "green" budget has you seeing red instead.