Washington voters to decide on nation’s first carbon tax


From MyNorthwest.com: Washington lawmakers have tried and failed in recent years to make polluters pay for their carbon emissions to fight climate change. Now, voters will get to decide.

An initiative on the November ballot asks voters whether the state should impose the nation’s first direct carbon tax on the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and gasoline.

Sponsors say residents have a moral responsibility to curb greenhouse gas emissions, and a carbon tax is the best way to do it. The tax encourages businesses to conserve or switch to clean energy by making fossil fuels more expensive, and it makes the tax system fairer by using the revenues to reduce other taxes, they say.

Businesses say the tax will drive up fuel and energy costs and put Washington companies at a competitive disadvantage.

And in a move that has bewildered some, major environmental and other groups — including those that backed Gov. Jay Inslee’s proposal last year to cap emissions and make carbon polluters pay — oppose the initiative. They say it takes the wrong approach.

Yoram Bauman

Yoram Bauman

Yoram Bauman, an economist who founded Carbon Washington, the grassroots group that gathered more than 350,000 signatures to qualify Initiative 732, defended it as great climate and tax policy. “It does almost everything right for Washington,” he said.

Audubon Washington supports it. “Our members came down on the side of urgency. We don’t have time to wait,” said Gail Gatton, the group’s executive director. “Climate change is happening, and this is our best available option right now to protect birds.”

But the Sierra Club, Washington Environmental Council and the advocacy group Front and Centered say the initiative is the wrong carbon-pricing approach and will hurt the state’s revenues. Whereas Inslee’s pollution fee would have raised money for education, transportation, clean energy and programs to help disadvantaged communities affected by climate change, Initiative 732 provides no such investments, critics say.

Rich Stolz

Rich Stolz

“It’s not a path that makes sense for our communities,” said Rich Stolz, executive director of OneAmerica, which works on social justice issues. Stolz said the initiative ignores climate justice and lacks input from communities of color.

Stolz’s group is part of a coalition that worked on an alternative carbon-pricing measure. Last-minute talks between that coalition and I-732 supporters to collaborate on one ballot measure fizzled last year.

The initiative is designed to be revenue neutral, meaning the tax revenue increase from fossil fuels would be mostly offset by decreases in other taxes. In this case, revenues would be returned to people and businesses by cutting the state sales tax by one point, virtually eliminating business taxes for manufacturers and providing rebates for working families, sponsors say.

A state analysis, however, estimates the measure could cost the state about $800 million in lost revenues over the first six fiscal years. Initiative sponsors dispute the state’s analysis, saying it double-counted the rebates in the first year.

The carbon tax is modeled after one in the nearby Canadian province of British Columbia. California has a cap-and-trade program, which limits emissions and allows carbon polluters to buy and trade pollution credits. If approved, Washington’s carbon tax starts at $15 a ton of carbon emissions in July, goes up to $25 the next year and incrementally increases afterward.

The Washington State Tree Fruit Association, which represents growers, packers and marketers, is among those opposed. It takes a lot of fuel to grow and transport produce, and the tax will be paid by those in the state, not competitors outside it, said Jon Devaney, the group’s president. “Raising food prices in Washington state will make us less competitive compared to others,” he said.

Initiative sponsors say a $25 carbon tax would raise the price of gasoline by about 25 cents per gallon and the price of coal-fired electricity by about 2.5 cents per kilowatt-hour. They say power plants and fuel suppliers likely will pass those costs on to consumers, but that consumers will see price reductions in other things they buy because the sales tax is cut. The tax wouldn’t apply to electricity from renewables like hydro, wind or solar power.

The campaign has raised $1.2 million from nearly 1,200 unique donors; more than half of those total contributions are under $200. The No on 732 campaign sponsored by the Association of Washington Business has raised $300,000 to oppose the tax.


11 responses to “Washington voters to decide on nation’s first carbon tax

  1. Outlaw the consumption of beans.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. HA HA HA HA!
    I love that first image, DCG! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. If you like your money, you can keep your money. (Whenever a politician assures something’s “revenue neutral”… )

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Carbon tax? What about the biggest polluters, i.e. Monsanto, fracking, chemtrails, which is also a waste of fuel to do the chemicals upon the people, etc. We are not the polluters, our government is. We are blamed like Russia is blamed for everything else.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My sentiments exactly, weezy. All of these pro carbon tax organizations are run by idiots who refuse to blame our government and target the specific offenders, whether it’s agency or black ops driven.


  5. William Brandon Shanley

    If these Wall Street carbon trading nutballs fear carbon dioxide, don’t they have enough sense to plant grasses and trees which breathe C02 and emit O2?


  6. What does a ton of carbon emissions look like? How do we know it can properly be measured?

    Does anyone else think purchasing and selling ‘carbon’ ‘credits’ is like purchasing and selling flatulence?

    The people who came up with these schemes obviously spend much too much time pondering gaseous emissions and looking into gaseous emitters. The fumes have all gone to their ‘heads’.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. So sorry to hear re WA State! I suppose that is handwriting on the wall for all the other states.

    I thought carbon-tax, et al, would be a much longer time in coming, but as with everything else these days, they seem to be speeding things up.

    Memory Hole Blog (S. Floridian) has been running several articles on the over-the-top fear-mongering-fraud known as Hurricane Matthew. He speculates the concerted effort among southern state governors, Prez O, the NOAA’s Natl Hurricane Center, etc. was so they could blame Matthew on “climate change.” That might seem like a thin connection, until a commentor there posted this. The NOAA Administrator will be the guest at an NGO webcast tomorrow (birds of a feather flock together!). Hurricane Forecasting is evidently now referred to as “Environmental Intelligence.” Just add the word “Agency” to the end of that & you have another govt. “spook” dept.

    stlonginus wrote on October 8, 2016 at 11:37 AM:
    Should anyone be interested, Resources for the Future (another carbon footprint NGO which is actually a gov-co entity) is having a webcast this coming Tuesday, October 11, 2016, titled: “The Business of Environmental Intelligence: A Conversation with NOAA Administrator Dr. Kathryn D. Sullivan.”

    People can register for the webcast at the rff.org website here: rff.org/ events

    Questions can be ‘tweeted’ during the event.

    According to the rff events page: “Please join Resources for the Future for a conversation between RFF President Richard G. Newell and Dr. Kathryn D. Sullivan, as they discuss how environmental intelligence can preserve and improve human and environmental health as well as promote growth.”

    In addition, Resources for the Future is hosting another webcast on October 19, 2016 at 12:30 p.m. It is titled: “The Role of Carbon Pricing in Implementing the Paris Agreement”. It is billed as: “An RFF/International Monetary Fund Seminar”.

    Again, the website at which to register for the webcast is: rff.org/ events

    FYI: thinktankmap. org/ThinkTankDetails.aspx?ID=132


  8. I can’t believe that anyone believes that oil and coal are “fossil fuels” in the first place. It’s a ridiculous theory.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Unfortunately, the Libtards ins Washington State seem to run everything, so I suppose this stupid measure will pass . . . and the little people will pay more, no matter that they say there will be an offset by cheaper taxes elsewhere.

    Great post DCG!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. AL Gore is the only one who will get rich over Carbon Credits. He has invested all his fortune in them, and if Cap and Trade are passed, he will get zillions out of it! Duh!! Why do you think he is running around the planet trying to sell everyone about the dangers of Carbon Emissions! Get It!

    Liked by 1 person

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