Great News! Initiative 732, the revenue-neutral carbon tax, has been approved as having enough signatures to either be adopted by the Washington Legislature — or go on the November ballot. 248,000 signatures were required — I-732 garnered more than 360,000, indicating Washington voters really want it.
At the recent Paris Climate Conference, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and Space-X, suggested that a revenue-neutral carbon tax was a crucial part of addressing climate change, that all countries should have one. And hopefully, via the Washington Legislature and/or Washington voters, our state may soon be there with the very first such tax in the country!
I-732 taxes only industrial and certain businesses’ carbon emissions; it does not tax Washington people or cars. It’s a graduated tax: $15 per 1,000 pounds of emissions a company puts out the first year, increasing by $5 per year every year thereafter. So the polluters are taxed, but not the people. It’s revenue-neutral because it will reduce the state sales tax by 1 percent — plus fund a tax rebate for 400,000 families below a certain economic level.
Benefits? A carbon tax will encourage carbon-emission conservation in industry. Washington state taxes will be less regressive. A similar tax was adopted with great success in British Columbia in 2008, resulting in less carbon emissions and no negative economic impacts.
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David Scheer, Bellingham