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Environmentalists Argue 'We Can Do Better' Than Washington Carbon Tax

Environmentalists Argue 'We Can Do Better' Than Washington Carbon Tax

Nika Knight, staff writer

An unprecedented ballot measure to levy a carbon tax against polluters in Washington State appears tailor-made for environmentalists who have fought for such a tax for decades, yet prominent progressive voices such as author and activist Naomi Klein and leftist state senator Pramila Jayapal are publicly lobbying against it—even as

Obviously, this issue will only gain urgency in the times ahead, but we need to get the ball rolling, and we need to do it now.
I look forward to joining efforts to modify or replace this measure when a better, concrete, proposal is on the table, but for now I will now go out and work to pass, and vote for, I-732.

Personally, I was thrilled to see that Wash. State even had such a measure up for a vote. Of course for the comrades in here it’s not good enough. They’re all “Waiting for Lenin” and until he’s back at the Finland Station they’ll obstruct any other attempts at change.

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If the people made the laws by encrypted online voter initiatives and referendums, we might opt for eliminating all taxes and distributing excess personal net worth beyond a direct democratically decided cap, equally among all.


In the recent past WA Governor Jay Inslee was advocating cap and trade in WA, which was a bad idea. I-732 is moving carbon pricing in a progressive direction and would be acceptable if the B&O and sales tax reductions were not part of the deal.

I-732 would give Boeing and other carbon intense industries a greater B&O tax reduction than they would pay in carbon tax, shifting more burden on the middle and lower income folks, without any reduction in carbon.

WA, by any metric, has one of the most regressive tax structures of any state. Eliminate the B&O and sales tax, swap them for a state income tax, and I am all in for the carbon tax.


La Ha Dee Da. Revenue neutral. All it does is help Earth.

Keep your eyes on the prize.

Ready for another step?

Cut every last subsidy and non voted bonds.

Wanna be a real progressive?

Balance the budget and cease all backroom subsidies.

Take that ball and go!

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funny enough I had to say something. you made me laugh

The carbon tax is designed to provide incentives to reduce producing carbon emissions. So what if it works…and significantly reduces emissions? Fantastic for the climate. But what does it do to Washington’s state budget?

Seems like figuring out the monetary costs and benefits of this measure is incredibly hard to predict. It might be designed to be revenue neutral, but if this passes the bean counters will need to keep a close monitor on this and then it will need to be adjusted accordingly.

Question for those in the know - when the rates for the carbon tax increase beyond year one, what happens to the balance between revenues and costs?

It is intended to remain revenue neutral going forward, so as the carbon tax increases, other taxes will continue to decrease.

Presumably, if the carbon tax works, carbon emission decrease as does the amount of revenue. Are there mechanisms to make sure the revenue “losses” from the successful program are balanced by the appropriate levels of revenue from other sources?

i don’t know the specific mechanisms. And it’s obviously complex, since different analysts who read the initiative come up with different numbers when they project forward a few years. But i do know that the mechanisms are intended to balance out.

This one is a really tough call I think.

Here is a link to a very balanced and evenhanded article that I think describes this conundrum well.

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There aren’t any conundrums or things to think through. It’s a tax on carbon that we should have had 30 years ago. It’s a start. It’s something instead of more nothing from the left that loses always.

Don’t Klein and all the other process-over-result do-gooders realize this is a bludgeon they will never get out from under? See? Climate change is a hoax. They want it “perfect” to tax us working folks to give handouts to all those brown deadbeats. That is EXACTLY what will happen, even if 732 passes.

Plus, WA has a law about ballot initiatives must be “single issue” matters. A solve-all-the-left’s-ills package would be struck down. This is a self-contained, easily understood and managed approach that will DO SOMETHING.

Yes, it should be a lot higher. Yes, it is an emergency. Its opponents on the left should be acting like it.

If you are in Washington, like me, please vote for 732. It really is a no brainer. We don’t need more reports or graphs or documentaries. Please vote yes to DO SOMETHING.

I am NOT paid by the 732 campaign. I live in Seattle, have given them money and I support the issue.

Klein’s opinion is based on “RESULTS” in British Columbia, not “process”.

Don’t equate “process” with profiting via complexity and confusion that characterizes so much legislation originating in both Washingtons.

At the expense of “us working folks” who pay utility bills, I-732 gives handouts to Boeing and other corporate welfare queens, NOT “to all those brown deadbeats” that dex3703 refers to.


Thank you. I do think this movie is well worth seeing but I am concerned that there is nothing that addresses the concerns of the Christian fundamentalists. Global warming has an entrenched and emotional aspect that I think must be addressed if we want them to accept the facts that contradict their holy book. I can’t help but believe the scientific facts alone, and the Pope is not the answer for them, will not connect with the deep emotional attachment to denial of something so huge and important and destructive that wasn’t part of their commandments. Didn’t their god know the road that humanity was on and the consequences of what humanity was doing?

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I’ve been reading the links supplied in these interesting comments. What exactly are those negative results in British Columbia? Did Washington learn anything from BC?

If your state really wanted to inhibit climate change, create regional jobs and generally increase state revenue, it would decide that renewable energy and climate inventors would never, under no circumstances be tortured for having good ideas. That would change everything!

The B&O tax is as regressive as the sales tax and this state has been badly coping with this since before I moved here in 1978, The bald fact that the state relies on these fixed business expenses that are passed directly to the consumer is crippling our state since during a recession, and make no mistake that for the average worker it is a reality, the population has little money to spend and tax revenue evaporates. Replacing these regressive taxes with a fairly balanced income tax is the only way that Washington will ever reach its potential. In reality the carbon tax is just another regressive tax to be monkeyed with once it gets a foot in the door.

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After stacking on over $530 million in new tax breaks for Boeing during the past three years, I-732 gives Boeing an additional tax break when their B&O tax is eliminated and their carbon tax is less than what their B&O tax was.

Revenue neutral in the context of I-732 therefore means:

  1. Low income folks neither gain or lose
  2. Working class folks’ lose because their fuel and utility bills rise faster than their sales tax reduction returns,
  3. Boeing gains.

This breakdown characterizes a lot of tax and energy policy in WA in recent years so it is not surprising that many voters don’t want to be fooled again.

If emissions were reduced perhaps we could offer it up. Unfortunately, as Klein points out emissions continue to INCREASE in British Columbia.

The reality is Auto Addiction is 35% or more of carbon emissions. But unless you stop
building ever more roads like the six lane superhighway for billions mentioned by Matt_Heins
in an earlier comment and invest in Green Transit people will have no choice but to drive.
And the problem with Auto Addiction is not just the fuel but the huge swaths of green space
buried in asphalt from a xis lane highway, the huge parking lots, a football field of asphalt for every 5 cars as estimated some time ago by Lester Brown. And we see this in the Commondreams article cited about British Columbia’s carbon tax where taxed emissions actually went up while ironically untaxed emissions went down.
On the other hand a carbon tax is a good precedent IF it is used to fund Green Transit,
better insulated houses etc. I just invested $9000 in double-pane highly energy efficient windows. $1500 is not going to pay for that or induce people to make that investment.
Furthermore it all depends on the LEVEL of the carbon tax. Tobacco taxes did not reduce
smoking until they became many times higher than they had been…
I agree with Naomi Klein and others that a revenue-neutral low carbon tax is not going to do much. It needs to be a carbon tax with personal refunds combined with Green investments…