“I-732 is the best framework for environmental protection that won’t break the bank”
SEATTLE, August 19, 2016 – Senator Joe Fain (R) joins an expanding group of Republican legislators endorsing Initiative 732, the country’s first revenue-neutral carbon tax initiative. Economists across the political spectrum agree that the most important thing that we can do to take action on climate is to put a price on carbon. I-732’s revenue-neutral approach to carbon pricing, which encourages clean energy solutions by shifting the tax burden onto carbon pollution and away from regressive and burdensome taxes that hurt families and businesses, has proven to be an attractive model for legislators and concerned citizens with a variety of political views. Sen. Fain’s support builds on recent endorsements from Sen. Mark Miloscia (R), Sen. Steve Litzow (R), former State Senator Bill Finkbeiner (R), former Secretary of State George Shultz (R), and legislators on both sides of the aisle.
“Washington will eventually take action to lower our state’s carbon footprint. The question before us is whether that decision should be about sound environmental policy or merely a backdoor to increasing taxes and growing government,” said Sen. Fain. “Initiative 732 uses the revenues gained through lowering our state’s greenhouse gas emissions to provide sales tax relief to working families and business tax relief for middle-class employers. While no policy is perfect, I-732 is the best framework for environmental protection that won’t break the bank.”
The Urgency of Taking Climate Action
Audubon Washington’s decision to support and actively campaign for the initiative demonstrates the urgency of taking a stand on climate change. Noted Gail Gatton, executive director of Audubon Washington, “I-732 is the best option available today to protect birds from this threat, and we can’t afford to stand on the sidelines.” A three-part analysis of I-732 published by Sightline Institute earlier this month concluded I-732, “would give Washington the continent’s, if not the world’s, most potent, persistent, and comprehensive incentive to move swiftly beyond dirty fossil fuels and to a carbon-free future,” and “would be the biggest improvement in the progressivity of Washington’s state tax system in 40 years—an enormous gain for 460,000 low-income working families.”
“It is imperative that climate change policy attract bipartisan support both locally and nationally,” said Yoram Bauman, founder and co-chair of the Yes on I-732 campaign. “We appreciate Sen. Fain’s thoughtful assessment of what must be done, starting now, to protect our children and future generations from the harmful impacts of climate change, and we are grateful for his support of I-732.”
A Fiscally Sound and Socially Responsible Carbon Tax Swap
The revenue-neutral tax swap proposed in I-732 protects households, businesses, and the economy from the financial burden of higher energy prices by offsetting a carbon tax with reductions in the other taxes they currently pay. I-732 reduces the regressive state sales tax by a full percent and effectively eliminates business taxes on energy-intensive manufacturers. And by funding the Working Families Tax Rebate, I-732 will provide the biggest financial boost to low-income Washington households since a 1977 ballot initiative eliminated the retail sales tax on most food purchases.
I-732 is patterned after the revenue-neutral British Columbia carbon tax swap which many economists consider to be the best climate policy in the world today. Carbon emissions are down as much as 16% since the policy was implemented, and the economy of British Columbia is doing as well if not better than Canada as a whole. Economists, climate scientists, and business leaders agree that the most efficient way to reduce carbon pollution is to charge a price for polluting.
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 in Washington. To learn more about I-732, view endorsements from around the state, and get involved, visit YesOn732.org and follow on twitter @carbonwa.
I-732 is designed to move the state toward two goals – cleaner energy and fairer taxes – with the following policy changes: