“It is time to take the politics out of the climate change debate”
SEATTLE, August 16, 2016 – Demonstrating growing bipartisan support for Initiative 732, the country’s first revenue-neutral carbon tax initiative appearing on the November ballot, Republican Senator Mark Miloscia joined Republican Senator Steve Litzow, former Republican State Senator Bill Finkbeiner, former Republican Secretary of State George Shultz, and a growing list of legislators on both sides of the aisle who have endorsed I-732. A bipartisan coalition of support is critical to passing I-732 in Washington in November, and inspiring carbon pricing policies elsewhere across the country that will protect our children and future generations from the harmful impacts of climate change.
In expressing his support for the policy, Sen. Miloscia (R), who is running for State Auditor, stated, “We need effective, efficient, and ethical environmental policies to address our climate change problems. I am supporting I-732 because science and experience show that it uses the most effective and efficient mechanisms for reducing pollution.A s an accountability professional, I appreciate the utilization of proven market-mechanisms rather than using unproven regulations and government programs that waste money. I also support I-732 because it creates a more ethical and balanced tax code rather than just increasing taxes. As State Auditor, I plan to use audits to ensure that I-732 and all other environmental programs remain effective and efficient. It is time to take the politics out of the climate change debate—only a robust audit accountability program can help lead the rest of the nation toward a common sense solution. Vote Yes on I-732!”
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.”
“We are already behind in the challenge to reverse the impacts of climate change. We need to act now to ensure a cleaner future for ourselves and the next generation,” said Yoram Bauman, founder and co-chair of the Yes on I-732 campaign. “I-732 is the only ballot initiative available to Washington voters to address climate change now. We applaud the courage and leadership of Sen. Miloscia and others who have demonstrated their moral obligation to take immediate action on climate change by pledging to vote Yes on 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: