SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--This November, Washington will vote on Initiative 732, a measure that if passed would put in place the nation’s first carbon tax. The world is warming at an alarming rate, and scientists and economists agree that putting an effective price on carbon emissions is the single most important thing we can do to reverse this trend. We have a moral responsibility to protect our children and future generations by tackling climate change now, and leave them a cleaner, healthier, safer world.
Of the environmental establishment’s opposition to I-732, The Washington Post Editorial Board said these groups “are not defending the perfect. Their approach would be worse than what is on Washington’s ballot. They are wrong on the politics and wrong on the substance.”
Yoram Bauman, Founder and Co-Chair of Carbon Washington: “This campaign shows that large numbers of people are tired of seeing too little happen to fight climate change and are dedicated to taking action. With I-732 we have a historic opportunity to put a tax on carbon emissions, accelerate the shift to a clean energy, and make our tax system more equitable for everyone.”
Gail Gatton, Executive Director of Audubon Washington: “How much longer can we wait to finally take meaningful action on climate change? I-732 will help birds and people by reducing carbon pollution and lowering our sales tax. Opportunity doesn’t knock very often, so let’s open the door to a cleaner future.”
The Sightline Institute published an in-depth analysis of I-732 concluding:
- “We find I-732 a worthy policy to put Washington on a path to cutting pollution and encouraging clean energy while also helping low-income families by making Washington State taxes less regressive.”
- “A carbon price starting at $15 and steadily rising to $100 in midcentury will put wind in the sails of Washington’s clean energy economy as nothing else possible. It will hasten the decline of coal; level the playing field for clean renewable energy; motivate companies to squeeze pollution out of their processes; encourage more convenient alternatives to driving alone and more efficient vehicles; concentrate urban growth in dense, walkable communities; and spur investment in clean business and technology innovations. The I-732 pollution price would amplify other clean energy policies and speed the Evergreen State toward a thriving clean energy economy.”
- “I-732 would be the biggest improvement in the progressivity of Washington’s state tax system in 40 years.”
I-732 is a Tax Swap
I-732 uses revenue from the carbon tax to cut the sales tax by a full point, putting hundreds of dollars each year in the pockets of individuals and families across the state. I-732 also eliminates the business tax on manufacturers to help keep them competitive and producing jobs in the state. This Tax Swap Calculator shows how I-732 would impact individuals and businesses.
I-732 is Revenue Neutral
I-732 will not harm the state budget. According to the Sightline Institute, “As an argument against I-732 the 'revenue hole' case is a red herring.”
I-732 Helps Low-Income Working Families
I-732 funds the Working Families Tax Rebate (WFTR), providing up to $1,500 a year to 460,000 low-income working families. The program was approved by the legislature eight years ago, but has never been funded, despite being a top progressive priority. I-732 funds the WFTR at a 25 percent match of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which is two and a half times the match that progressives have been lobbying for, amounting to an investment of over $1 billion over the first six years.
I-732 Improves Health Outcomes
I-732 improves the financial health and physical health of low-income communities and communities of color.
- I-732 reduces carbon pollution and the types of pollution that go with it, like smog and particulates. Low-income households, who often live closer to freeways, factories, and power plants, will get the biggest health benefits from these pollution reductions.
- Studies show that programs like the WFTR improve the health of low-income families and kids.
- Open Letter from more than 50 University of Washington climate scientists.
- James Hansen, former NASA scientist and “father” of the climate change movement. Yesterday Hansen issued a Call to Action for support of I-732.
- Steven Chu, former Secretary of Energy and winner of the Nobel Prize in physics.
- Audubon Washington, whose research shows climate change is the number one threat to birds and people. Audubon members recognize this is the best available solution and are taking action.
- The Washington Post Editorial Board: “The left’s opposition to a carbon tax shows there’s something deeply wrong with the left.”
- The New York Times Editorial Board: “The idea of putting a price on carbon is…one of the most straightforward, economy-friendly ways to deal with climate change,” and I-732, “could well set an example for other states.”
- The Stranger: “We don’t have time to make the perfect the enemy of the good when it comes to fighting climate change…sometimes you gotta stop hand-wringing, grab incremental change when you can get it, and then keep right on pushing toward perfect. Vote yes.”
I-732 is neither the beginning nor the end of climate policy. It won’t solve climate change all by itself. And it’s neither the beginning nor the end of progressive policy. It won’t solve poverty or income inequality all by itself. But it is an important and necessary first step.
About Carbon Washington
Carbon Washington is a non-partisan grassroots group of scientists, economists, former elected officials, business owners and concerned citizens focused on seeking a solution to climate change that works for businesses and households around the state. The group developed Initiative 732 as a revenue-neutral approach to taxing carbon pollution while encouraging economic growth for families and businesses. Visit YesOn732.org.