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Big Oil Spending Tens of Millions to Defeat Washington State's Groundbreaking Carbon Fee Initiative


That is why I am voting for it too. On one hand yes it could be the equivalent of kicking the can down the road. But on the other hand I hate seeing Big Oil win and I feel if they do manage to defeat this bill it will end up just demoralizing the people more. So yes the bill is not nearly enough but I don’t see any good reason not to vote for it. If Big Oil is fighting it then it must have some merit.


Why do progressives resort to conservative policies to enact social change? Energy taxes are regressive. By the time a carbon tax has reached a level where the upper middle feels the pinch, the poor can no longer afford to heat their homes or drive their cars. (The rich will never feel the pain of a carbon tax.)

A progressive solution would mandate more energy efficient building codes for new buildings. A progressive solution would mandate home improvements such as new windows and new furnaces for existing buildings, while making subsidies available to the poor. A progressive solution would mandate zero emission buses for public transportation. A progressive solution would lower maximum CO2 emission levels for power plants over time until only renewable sources can meet the targets. A progressive solution would mandate better fuel economy in cars and trucks.

Carbon taxes are for conservatives.


This is a very modest proposal. Perhaps too modest for this measure by itself to make a significant difference in terms of changing behaviors. However, passage of this plan could have ripple effects that could be big.

The revenues, coming largely from corporate business and industry, can provide initial supports for energy conservation projects and transitions to renewables.

Hope it passes.


I would support this as long as this: “using the revenue from the fee to fund various programs and projects related to the environment.” was openly communicated to the state.

What programs and projects specifically?
Have these programs and projects been predetermined or is there a process to determine qualification?
How does each program receive funding and how is the allocation of funds determined?


True enough. Unfortunately, in order for such carbon fees to accomplish much, they need to start out higher and the level of annual increase needs to be more carefully prescribed to keep politicians from being able to leverage short-term economic concerns from being able to use “emergency economic concerns” to set-back or rescind the carbon fees. Rather than dolling out the revenues of such a tax, it would seem wiser to create a “People’s Bank” controlled by a board of environmental trustees which would then be able to provide low interest loans to citizens as well as city, county, and state governments toward addressing climate remediation and amelioration projects (everything from home energy efficiency loans for individual home-owners to public transportation expansion and large-scale public-grid energy infrastructure).


That is why (at least a nod toward) “revenue-neutral” is so important and probably why it is so visibly absent from this proposal. The manner of making such a program revenue neutral is to provide those at the lower economic scale, offsets (discount fuel cards allowing purchase of limited amounts of fuel at prices that don’t include the full taxed price per gallon, for instance) to counter most all of the economic pain such energy taxes inevitably inflict upon the poorest individuals.


This is how lib/progs and corporate Dims work, ala Romney/ObamaCare and S.1804 Medicare for All and phased-in minus wages that lock in poverty, etc.


Exactly. All flat taxes are regressive when a society has skewed income distribution. But we can’t talk about progressive and graduated taxation because that’s oh so complicated and people are just so stupid…blah, blah, blah…


As someone who lives in poverty/on the edge of poverty, I’d ask you to relook at your statement. E.G., people still need fuel to get to work and carry out other daily activities and public transportation often is not timely enough – if it exists. And certainly, the vast majority can’t afford less-polluting vehicles (which have their own built-in sustainability issues). and then there’s fuel for heating/cooling.

I stand on my assertion that flat taxes are regressive taxes and anti-poor.


The solution to this problem is to subsidize those people, rather than subsidizing fossil fuels (by allowing them to externalize their costs). In fact, many of the externalities, especially the health externalities, fall disproportionately on the poor and reduction in fossil fuel use will directly improve their lives (and reduce their health care costs – offsetting the increase in fossil fuel prices).

There are many proposals like the one in Washington that would take the taxes and use them to subsidize the poor or others who are adversely affected by a reduction in fossil fuel use. They are typically called tax and dividend systems.

I stand by my assertion that we should make fossil fuels as expensive as possible. At the same time, we should address the needs of the poor. But we shouldn’t conflate the two and end up allowing the fossil fuel industry to continue to foist external costs on society and place our planet at risk just because the poor will have higher fuel costs.


The challenge becomes what is the appropriate value we need to subsidize for affected populations? We need a policy that actually address all the potential costs a carbon tax could affect against fossil fuels both directly and indirectly not just a focus on gasoline…