Campaign News

Update Dec 23: Here is our decision.

Hello carbon tax friends: This is a personal message from me (Yoram) to each and every one of you. It’s important, so please read the whole thing. But if you don’t have time right now, here’s a quick summary: We are on the fence about whether or not to turn in our 350,000 signatures because of the emergence of an alternative proposal. We welcome your feedback and will make a final decision by December 30. There will be a conference call for all volunteers on Tuesday (12/22) at 6pm. We will go until all questions are answered. To join the call, please RSVP by emailing [email protected] or [email protected] or [email protected] to receive the code.


One of my favorite messages from our campaign—one that I think captures the spirit of our effort—was this one: “If you support the Alliance then God bless you and go support them. And if you support Carbon Washington then keep your eye on the ball [i.e., on qualifying I-732 for the ballot by collecting signatures and raising money].”

That message originated in this post, which included a somewhat lengthy third component that I want to reprint in full:

If you are undecided [then] make up your mind and get off the fence because the movement for climate action needs you. Both the Alliance and Carbon Washington care deeply about climate change, and both groups have impressive lists of supporters. The four main differences are these:

  1. Carbon Washington believes that pursuing bipartisan climate action through a revenue-neutral approach is the right strategy in Washington State and in Washington, DC; the Alliance believes that the way to win is to use a revenue-positive package to unite the left.

  2. Carbon Washington is advocating for a specific policy (a revenue-neutral carbon tax) and we are asking you to sign I-732 and collect signatures from your friends and neighbors and co-workers; the Alliance does not have a specific policy, so they are asking you to sign their “I believe in Washington” pledge.

  3. Carbon Washington is committed to “taking a swing at the ball” because 2016 is a can’t-miss opportunity for climate action; the Alliance is exploring ballot options but they are not committed to running an initiative in 2016 because they believe that “swinging and missing” (i.e., losing at the ballot) would set the movement back.

  4. The Alliance thinks the most important result from the poll they conducted last month is that initial support for the Carbon Washington proposal is under 40% (i.e., 39%); Carbon Washington thinks the most important result from that poll is that support climbs to over 60% (61% Yes, 35% No, 4% Undecided) when the proposal is explained in simple language.

I bring all this up because on Saturday the CarbonWA Executive Committee had a 5-hour meeting, and after many additional emails and phone calls I think it’s fair to say that we’re on the fence about whether we should turn in the 350,000 signatures that we have collected—the 350,000 signatures that your time and money have collected—in order to qualify I-732 for the Nov 2016 ballot.

In order to explain why we’re on the fence, and to suggest a path forward, I want to go back to that original post and look at the advice we gave to fence-sitters back in July.

The most important change since July concerns point #3:

3. Carbon Washington is committed to “taking a swing at the ball” because 2016 is a can’t-miss opportunity for climate action; the Alliance is exploring ballot options but they are not committed to running an initiative in 2016 because they believe that “swinging and missing” (i.e., losing at the ballot) would set the movement back.

We believed this to be true in July and we believed this to be true last week, but thanks to new information our Executive Committee is now convinced that there will be a swing at the ball in 2016 no matter what, i.e., we are convinced that if I-732 does not go forward then another ballot measure (an Initiative to the People) will launch in January and will have the strength to qualify for the Nov 2016 ballot. To quote CarbonWA co-director Kyle Murphy, “Our campaign has guaranteed there will be a carbon pricing measure on the ballot in 2016, the first one in the nation. We are only deciding which version we prefer and which version is the strongest. We have this option as a direct result of your hard work.”

That brings us to point #2 from July’s post:

2. Carbon Washington is advocating for a specific policy (a revenue-neutral carbon tax) and we are asking you to sign I-732 and collect signatures from your friends and neighbors and co-workers; the Alliance does not have a specific policy, so they are asking you to sign their “I believe in Washington” pledge.

The specifics of an alternative to I-732 are still being worked out, but the general outline is that it will be a “carbon fee”, with significant portions of the fee revenue going to fund clean energy projects, clean water projects, and forest health. The advantages of this alternative approach relate to point #4 from July’s post:

4. The Alliance thinks the most important result from the poll they conducted last month is that initial support for the Carbon Washington proposal is under 40% (i.e., 39%); Carbon Washington thinks the most important result from that poll is that support climbs to over 60% (61% Yes, 35% No, 4% Undecided) when the proposal is explained in simple language.

More recent polling confirms that I-732 starts in a hole (the latest numbers are 44% Yes, 40% No, 16% Undecided), climbs to a peak of about 60% Yes after a simple explanation, and ends up after Pro and Con messages at 48% Yes, 47% No, 5% Undecided. These numbers are much more challenging than you might think, especially because providing voters with a “simple explanation” will be extremely challenging in the midst of a Presidential election year and would require resources well beyond the existing capacity of the campaign.

In contrast, the alternative approach is likely to start out better (57% Yes, 36% No, 7% Undecided), climb to a peak at or above 65% Yes after a simple explanation, and end up after Pro and Con messages at about 53% Yes, 45% No, 8% Undecided. Supporters of the alternative approach believe that the measure can be tweaked to boost these numbers even more, but in any case it is clear that the alternative approach significantly out-polls I-732, especially with voters who are too distracted by the Presidential race and the rest of their lives to pay attention to anything else.

This brings me to the final point from July’s email, which was actually point #1 in that email and deserves pride of place as Point #1 in this email and in our campaign overall:

1. Carbon Washington believes that pursuing bipartisan climate action through a revenue-neutral approach is the right strategy in Washington State and in Washington, DC; the Alliance believes that the way to win is to use a revenue-positive package to unite the left.

We still believe in bipartisan climate action, and in fact we believe that there is a clear bipartisan path forward in Washington State: Pass a revenue-neutral carbon tax like I-732, and then follow British Columbia’s harmonious path forward by tweaking the measure as needed around the edges to address concerns as they arise. Doing so would eliminate the need for the less effective regulatory mandates that are currently being pursued due to the legislative stalemate on climate action.

Unfortunately, the enthusiasm for bipartisan climate action through a revenue-neutral tax shift is not at the level we had hoped to see after nine months of campaigning:

  • We have tried hard to get support from the business community for I-732, but the reaction so far has been tepid at best: the most common response has been an expression of interest in “further discussions”. Many of these business interests like the various alternative policies even less, but that hasn’t translated into support for I-732 or even support for a commitment to a good-faith discussion in the legislature about carbon pricing.
  • We have tried hard to get support for I-732 from civic groups like the League of Women Voters, from think tanks like Sightline, from advocacy groups like the (left-leaning) Washington Budget and Policy Center and the (right-leaning) Washington Policy Center, and from editorial boards like the Seattle Times. We have had some successes (UU Voices for Justice, Seattle Business magazine, the Olympian, the Spokane Spokesman-Review), but also many many deferrals.
  • We have tried hard to get support from progressives for I-732, but many of them want to integrate solutions for other very real social problems into climate action. Those solutions require revenue, which has led them to oppose our revenue-neutral policy, despite its clear improvement in the financial situation of low-income families. One Democratic legislator also went so far as to state that his side of the aisle “would oppose I-732 if it was even one dollar revenue-negative”.
  • We have tried very hard to get support from conservatives for I-732, but we don’t have much to show for it despite offering a simple, efficient, market-based, revenue-neutral policy.

In short, the unfortunate truth appears to be that not enough people want to have a serious conversation about bipartisan climate action during the 2016 session.

That puts us in a difficult situation because I-732 requires a serious conversation. The reason that we are on the fence about turning in our signatures is simple: if we cannot have a serious conversation about climate action in the legislature then our measure will go to the voters, but most voters don’t have the time or the inclination to have a serious conversation about climate action amid all the other issues raised during a presidential election year.

Our top priority is and always has been to take action that reduces carbon emissions in Washington, that does so in a fair way, and that can be replicated in other states. Right now, it looks like the best shot at climate action is to go directly to the people with the alternative proposal because polling consistently shows that voters across the political spectrum like clean energy, clean air, and clean water, that voters are skeptical about tax reductions, and that voters like “fees” better than “taxes”. (As an aside: our revenue-neutral carbon tax could not have been called a “fee” because the revenue goes to reduce taxes rather than to fund pollution-reduction efforts.)

We wish that our Christmas present for all of you was a joyful announcement that I-732 would being going to the legislature in January with strong prospects for passing. Instead, we have a decision to make about the best way to create a strong price on carbon here in Washington State in 2016.

Because this campaign belongs to everybody who has put their time and heart and money into it, you deserve a say, so I am inviting you all to share your thoughts with me (and the rest of the Executive Committee) via email at [email protected], on the phone at 206-351-5719, or on the blog. There will also be a conference call for all volunteers on Tuesday (12/22) at 6pm. We will go until all questions are answered. To join the call, please RSVP by emailing [email protected] or [email protected] or [email protected] to receive the code.

The Executive Committee will make a final decision on or before our scheduled signature turn-in date of W Dec 30. We are leaning towards embracing the alternative measure as the best shot of getting climate action in Washington State in 2016, but we have not yet made a final decision. (So if you still have signature sheets in your possession please send them in ASAP!)

One final note: Lots and lots of smart folks—from Steve Chu to Elon Musk to ExxonMobil to Wall Street CEOs to the Seattle Times editorial board, from dozens of economists and civic leaders around the state to nationally recognized thought leaders like Greg Mankiw and Thomas Friedman —agree that a price on carbon is key and that a revenue-neutral carbon tax is the best way to get there. What we have done—what you have done—is make it tangible: Here in Washington State we have taken that key, and we have turned the lock, and with incredible effort and against unbelievable odds we have pushed open the door to a better world. But it may not make sense to walk through that door just by ourselves, not when there’s an alternative that has a much better shot at creating a strong price on carbon here in Washington State in November 2016.

Without our effort—without your effort—the alternative measure would not be where it is today. Our incredible grassroots effort has convinced major funders and major environmental organizations to come to the table with a real willingness to take a swing at the ball and a real plan. We have created—you have created—a situation where it is now inevitable that in November 2016 Washington State will be the first state in the nation to put a carbon price on the ballot so that the people of this state can vote for strong climate action. Whichever path we take, the staff and Executive Committee of Carbon Washington are excited to push forward with the next phase of this campaign and we hope you are too. Onward!

Comments ( 81 )

  • Guy says:

    Don’t mess it up. Don’t betray the 350k people who signed and everybody who worked on this in any capacity.

  • Cliff Mass says:

    My take…hand in the ballots. If it is not revenue neutral you will lose the Republicans…all of them. If you wait to the election, you will face huge opposition (with lots of money) by the oil companies. The most important thing we can do is to make our action bipartisan…THAT will be an example for the nation. A carbon tax for WA by itself will only have marginal value-we are already one of the most low-carbon states in the union. It is the example of creating a moderate coalition that is of great meaning. Folks donated money and worked hard to collect the signatures…are you ready to throw that away? I have talked to a lot of state legislators…most will support it. Even some Republicans. Have you done the headcount yet in the legislature?…cliff mass

  • Rod Tharp says:

    I am for turning the signatures in.
    I really question the accuracy of these polls.
    I was polled a month or so ago and I was not impressed with the questions. I assume it was an Alliance ( no longer do they have the Clean Jobs and Energy part of their name) poll as it was a little about 732, without naming it and a lot about a fictitious to be alternative Carbon fee. Half of the questions asked me what would this new initiative have in it. A lot of my answers were that I did not know what was in the initiative and could not answer that question. I personally do not trust polls, at least not the one I was given about this issue.
    One of the big deciding points should be whether this so called new plan is still a cap and trade plan like Inslee’s last legislature session. I have heard there are a lot of advocacy groups that oppose cap and trade. Rod

    • Ramez Naam says:

      One thing to note here is that the most polling was done in conjunction with CarbonWA. We were involved in the design and language of the poll, and analysis of the results.

      Polling isn’t a perfect predictor of the future. But multiple polls and experience of other groups nationwide tell us that this is probably roughly accurate.

  • Ramez Naam says:

    That should have read “the most *recent* polling…”

    • Guy says:

      If the CarbonWA execs are making these big decisions based on the idea that 57% of the state supports a non-revenue neutral capntrade bill, we are in trouble. Please get a second opinion and hire a top flight research firm for the polling.

      Multiple governors tried cap-n-trade and it got no traction. The cap-n-trade bill couldn’t even get out of the Democratic House committee last session. There hasn’t been a statewide tax measure pass that I can remember. The state loves Eyman and the 2/3rds. They don’t even want to repeal a tax exemption on bottled water. How is it possible 57% support a REALLY complicated policy that raises revenue? Not buying it.

      And what happens if you fold and the Alliance measure loses? Can we calculate the long term damage to the carbon tax cause and the environment under that scenario?

      By folding you are putting all the eggs in the Alliance basket. Give the voters more choices, not less.

      Not to mention it’s really just a horrible exercise in democracy to have less than 10 members of the exec board block the will of 350k voters and the countless volunteers. It’s just wrong. #TurnThemIn

  • Steve Verhey says:

    Thanks for the really thoughtful e-mail explaining the situation, and for being willing to set 732 aside if something truly better is available. But I’m with the other commenters here. Cliff’s points about Republican support and the value of the 732 approach as a model are especially salient. Rod’s comments about polling are also important — the Alliance proposal is too nebulous to present in any detail, yet its poll numbers are to be accepted and used to make such a big decision regarding 732’s future?

    If climate change gets the attention it deserves in the 2016 campaign, a lot of the messaging needed to promote and educate about 732 will happen naturally. In addition, the 732 campaign will be able leverage climate change attention to advance its message.

  • Rod Tharp says:

    I like ” By folding you are putting all the eggs in the Alliance Basket” from what I have seen of the “Alliance” I trust them about as much as I trust the Democrats – oh wait me thinks they are related.

  • John Donoso says:

    Folks, we have one bullet. That’s what we’ve got. I would support the CarbonWA bullet if it would strike true, but the best data we’ve got (and it is good data) is that it would not. If those ballots get turned in, the measure *will* fail.

    Cliff Mass – Republicans do not support this, and will not support this, period. That’s the inescapable conclusion of multiple rounds of polling, and I helped design and fund the initial rounds of that, in close cooperation with Yoram. Revenue neutrality does not buy Republican support. Full stop.

    We are faced with a choice: Are we data-driven, or aren’t we? If we are, we don’t turn them in.

  • Clifford Mass says:

    I do believe there is a serious ethical dimension to this. Folks have given their time, energy, and money to this effort. Their contributions were based on a vision and a defined approach. To decide to throw away their hard-earned signatures, their financial support, and all the resources provided for the initiative for a different vision does not seem right. You will certainly alienate a large portion of your based. You may well destroy your organization. It just seems wrong. You are deciding you will fail before you fail. I have learned that seemingly difficult or impossible things can be accomplished if you dare to try. Want an example? our effort to save KPLU. Everyone though we would fail. I can give you several more.

    You owe it to your supporters to try to win the legislature. Personally, I think you have a chance to pull it off. You will have to switch from signature-collection organization to a grass roots lobbying group. You will have to approach each legislator and make the case. But if you succeed in making it happen in a bipartisan way, you could impact the entire country. Personally, I think to gather the signatures and then throw it all away would be tragic and unfair to your supporters.

    Have you polled state legislators by actually talking to them and getting a count? I have talked to several that would support it….cliff

  • Leslie says:

    Thanks for the thoughtful email, Yoram. I want to put a price on carbon, and if that means a different approach, I applaud the executive committee for considering it. It takes courage to change directions, especially so publicly. But it sounds like the right thing to do, and I’ll be happy to keep working with you on this alternative initiative.

  • Phil Mitchell says:

    I appreciate hearing the arguments on both sides of this, but I don’t agree that there’s any “betrayal” or bad faith involved in considering all the options. The only thing I care about is moving climate action forward in the most effective way possible. The exec leadership has done an incredible job shepherding the initiative to this point. But it’s good to remember that gathering the signatures is the easy part.

    I look forward to a conversation at 6pm.

  • John Covert says:

    A very big decision to make.

    Some questions first:
    If we submit the signatures now, does it have to end up on the ballot in November 2016? Can it be withdrawn by the CarbonWA if we decide in April to not go forward at that point and join forces with a different proposal? Would submitting them give us leverage that we won’t have if we don’t submit them?

    Republicans will not join our campaign (nor the Alliance’s for that matter) period. We should stop pretending that they care about the environment nor care about their grandchildrens’ future.

    The legislature will not step up and do the right thing (see paragraph above).

    Whatever proposal that gets on the ballot for 2016 has to carry King and Snohomish County democrats in large enough numbers to cancel the eastern 2/3rds of the state which won’t support it.

    My concern about the CARBONWA proposal is that the sales tax reduction will not generate enough savings to make the fee revenue neutral to families. I have done the math and when the fee gets up past the second or third year (depending on your utility), families will be paying more, not less for their energy. It will hit their pocketbooks and we will lose support from struggling families who want to do the right thing but can’t afford it. The Citizens Climate Lobby national proposal for a fee with a dividend does in fact make families whole. I know we can’t do a dividend in WA. But my point is, I think the CARBONWA proposal doesn’t redistribute the savings in a way that will make it palatable to enough voters to get it approved. It was crafted to be revenue neutral to Republicans and gain their support, but it isn’t revenue neutral to families and we won’t be able to sell it as such. I can hear the Exxon funded commercials sowing fear in the hearts of average voters.

    I have no polling expertise to know if the Alliance’s plan to use the carbon fees to raise taxes for other causes that their members care about will be a winning proposal either. But they won’t be selling it as revenue neutral because they aren’t trying to be.

    We only get one shot at this and it has to happen in 2016.

  • Baxter the Actor says:

    Cliff Mass – You are a brilliant scientist and weatherman but please stick with what you know. Politics is not it! If so many Republicans loved Carbon WA’s rev neutral proposal, why aren’t they introducing their own bills, or willing to endorse, or even make a statement saying they’d vote for it?

    • Clifford Mass says:

      Baxter…the only true, effective way to deal with the carbon problem will be bipartisan. Look at the state legislature and the U.S. congress and see who has power. We need to show there is different way than having one party or group push this through. Paris showed we could get the entire world to at least say the right thing. I think we should not assume defeat and try in the legislature. If we fail, we move on. There is no one shot. We can always try again using a different approach. I have talked to quite a few legislators and most were positive. ..cliff

    • Tim Hesterberg says:

      This personal attack is not appropriate. Please keep the discussion polite and constructive.

  • Baxter the Actor says:

    and by the way, this ain’t a betrayal of those 350k people. They signed it because they wanted to cut carbon. And there is more than one way to skin the cat, or in this case, there’s more than one policy option to trim emissions. You can do it with a cap and fee system too.

  • Steve Verhey says:

    I don’t agree that we only get one shot at this, because win or lose we can’t stop. It will be easy for opponents of the Alliance’s proposal to point to various alt energy boondoggles of the past and projects that won’t offer decent ROI in the future. There’s more to winning an election against the kind of opposition any carbon cost proposal will face than ballot title semantics.

    I do think there’s value in offering Republicans/conservatives something that objectively matches their values, only to have them reject it. The 2016 election is a huge wild card here. The is the possibility of huge D coattails, and the presence of a carbon tax initiative will influence candidate messaging about climate at all levels.

  • Guy says:

    When 350k people signed, they didn’t sign because:

    – they wanted to give the exec board the latitude to ignore their will on Dec 21st before a Dec 30th deadline based on data on another initiative provided by the backers of that other initiative

    – they were counting on AWB or some business lobbyist to spend money on it and if that didn’t materialize they wanted to pull their support and their signature

    – they were hopeful that the Alliance would back a different policy so they could withdraw their support for carbonwa
    – they bought into this idea that we can’t have more than one carbon option on the ballot

    They signed because they supported carbonwa’s policy and they wanted it before the legislature in 2016.

    If you wanted to find out if 350k agree with your new assumptions, you could have easily surveyed all 350k to find out. You have their contact info. But pulling the plug during Xmas week is a betrayal in my book. You are of course entitled to see it a different way.

    • Phil Singer says:

      In my experience talking with a few hundred of those 350K people, they signed the Carbon WA initiative because they want to “bring clean energy to Washington state” or for some other hook that we used to draw them into a conversation.

      I believe that the 350K, myself included, want to present a climate initiative that has the best chance of success. Let’s get the language right.

      • Robert Beekman says:

        Phil Singer,

        Speaking for myself as one of the 350K signers, as signature gatherer, and as a supporter, I was working specifically for I-732’s Carbon Tax — and for the reduction in the sales tax and the funding of the Working Family rebate to offset the regressive effect of that Carbon Tax. I was not and am not willing to settle for any old measure to “bring clean energy to Washington state” or “to present a climate initiative that has the best chance of success.” So I don’t agree with interpreting the intentions of the 350K signers of I-732 to mean something different or vaguer or more loose-goosey than what they actually signed.

  • Sheri says:

    What is the language of the Alliance’s initiative? I’d like to know how much the fee or tax on carbon will be and what specifically that revenue will fund. How sure are we that this new initiative will qualify for the ballot? Have they raised sufficient funds for this? Do they have a statewide campaign in place?

  • Cliff Mass says:

    Some of my comments are not being put online…..cliff

  • Andrew Reding says:

    My first thought is that it’s extremely frustrating after all this work.

    But I was speaking with State Rep. Kris Lytton (D) a few weeks ago, and she told me that legislative experts have determined that the WA Carbon measure, though designed to be revenue-neutral, was miscalculated, and would in fact be revenue-negative at a time when the state is already in a crisis from the Tim Eyman initiatives.

    In hindsight I think the revenue-neutral approach was nice in principle, but guaranteed to be flawed in practice. No one can fine-tune revenue neutrality into something as inflexible as an initiative. Just imagine if the cannabis legalization initiative had been linked to revenue neutrality. An utter disaster.

    And honestly we need more revenue in this state. Desperately. And given what I am reading above – namely that Republicans are so ideological that they are unwilling to sign on to a revenue-neutral carbon tax, it seems we would lose a negligible number of supporters but gain important allies by ditching the revenue-neutral part.

    As for a “carbon fee,” I am always suspicious of weasel words. If it’s really a tax but we don’t want to use that word because it does not poll well, I’m OK with that. But if ends up being code for cap-and-trade, count me out. Only a carbon tax (by whatever name) will work. Just look at the European Union to see what a joke cap-and-trade is. Plus it’s a giveaway to the business interests that already govern this country.

    Also what happens if this new initiative fails to get enough signatures, despite the polling results? I suspect many volunteer signature collectors will be weary of starting all over, and perhaps signers a bit exasperated as well. If we hold these petitions back, can we bring them forward if the other effort fails? Or will they have legally expired by then? On the other hand, if big donors are willing to finance paid signature gatherers à la Eyman, that may not be a problem.

    • Larry Gussin says:

      The EU has been leading the world for 20 years in the effort to mitigate climate change. Some design choices in their first ETS were mistakes, which doesn’t make it a “joke.” They are improving it and California said they learned from it designing its cap and trade system, which covers 85% of the economy – hardly a “joke.”

      Carbon pricing is at the core of mitigation. There are multiple ways to do it and each will improve in subsequent versions. I think what matters most is to get systems up and running as soon as possible wherever possible.

  • Kristy Royce says:

    I would like to understand what guarantee do we have that the Alliance will actually move forward? I would like to know who their funders are and what their level of commitment is. In the end, we need deep pocketed, serious backers to actually pass anything. I also believe, while we would all like this bill to be supported by the Republicans, neither bill actually is. Just because we want it to be one way does not make it so.

    We need to look beyond this short term battle and look at the big picture.

  • Rob Jellinghaus says:

    I donated substantially to CarbonWA because I believed in the prospect of bipartisan support for the initiative.

    I also believe Yoram et al. are being entirely honest when they say that the bipartisan support they hoped for is not appearing. No conservative groups have publicly declared support for I-732, and we are getting no support from the right for it. If they take a whip count I would bet there are few if any Republican legislators who would back it today.

    Moreover, the polling is clear that you pick up more liberals by making it a fee with revenue for other environmental causes, than you pick up conservatives by making it a revenue-neutral tax.

    I believe the polling numbers are real, important, and actionable, and I support the plan of changing tactics to try to unify the liberal coalitions that are strongly motivated to attack climate change, rather than sticking with the revenue-neutral plan in the face of clear evidence that it is not picking up bipartisan support.

  • Clifford Mass says:

    I believe there are strong arguments to stay the course.

    First, ethical ones. Many folks contributed money and time based on a clear vision provided by this effort. The direction was clear: to provide a bipartisan example for the nation following what we believed was the best route forward: a revenue-neutral carbon tax. The organizers could have called for a fee-based, revenue-positive approach at the beginning. They did not. It is wrong to sell one vision and replace it with another AFTER folks contributed in sweat and dollars.

    Second, we are giving up before we fail. Polls are notorious for errors. Has anyone polled each state legislator to see what they would do? I have talked to several legislators and there was substantial support. How does the leadership know they will fail? They owe the group an attempt.

    Third, this is NOT the only shot. We can try a different approach if we fail. But by throwing away the signatures, you are guaranteeing failure at building a bipartisan coalition for climate change. Great accomplishments are never attained by playing it safe or retreating.

    Finally, by giving up, this group will be severely weakened. To achieve so much, to throw it away at the last minute is disheartening at best.

    • Guy says:

      +1 on Cliff’s statement.

      This is a bait and switch. To my knowledge, cancelling a referendum after it received the necessary signatures has never happened.

      And if you turn them in, it makes it real. Legislators on both sides HAVE to do something with it. You might find lots more vocal support from GOP legislators when carbonwa is actually on their desks this session and they see the Alliance collecting signatures for their initiative. Maybe the legislature will actually pass carbonwa in 16.

      We won’t get a chance to find out if you fold.

      • sharon says:

        You are not considering the worst case scenario here. And that is not just losing. It is the very likely possibility that the legislators that really are in the pockets of the oil companies/are legitimate climate deniers (like Ericksen) will use the opportunity of getting this bill in session as an avenue to create an alternate version with horrible holes in it. This would not only create confusion, sink almost any chance of it winning but GOP legislators would then show public support for this alternative which would effectively block any true conversation about tackling the subject again.

        It’s a short session. There are a lot of leverage points that the GOP will have to push something like that through since they know the Dems will be hoping to close out session on time in order to stop the fundraising freeze for the 2016 election.

        If the only problem we faced was that the GOP was apathetic to working on this issue, sending the signatures in and having it go to legislators may be a fine strategy. And while I do believe there are GOP members that ultimately do care about this on some capacity… that is not who we have to be wary of. We have to keep our eyes on the legislators that have shown over and over again that they will do *anything* to stop solutions from moving forward. You have to consider what they will do because they have the most energy, money and resources to actually pull it off.

        And this is only one of the many *real* worse case scenarios. Not just based off of speculation. But based off of previous strategies that has been utilized by oil backed elected officials in the past.

        Do not turn the signatures in.

        Use this as an opportunity to create a united movement with people passionate about moving solutions through. You’ve already pushed the Alliance group to take action quicker. This united effort would be a game changer nation wide.

  • Baxter the Actor says:

    Guy – Unless you consider doing nothing to be ‘something’, then the Legislature doesn’t have to do squat with I-732. They can just kick it to the voters. And with all due respect, I have to say you’re delusional to believe that Republicans are gonna back any policy proposal that harms their buddies in the oil industry. Sorry man, they just ain’t!

    And it’s not like all of the money Carbon WA raised goes down the drain, it can still be used to campaign for the another measure.

    • Guy says:

      Not doing anything is still something because it ensures the people get to vote on the policy that 350k signed up for.

      Regarding GOP support, if that is the case, then there is no need to make decisions on the signatures based on whether or not there is GOP/biz support.

      I disagree with you though. There are in fact GOP legislators who support carbonwa. But that doesn’t’ matter. 350k people still signed it as a referendum to the leg in 2016. #TurnThemIn

  • Ken Lans, M.D., M.B.A. says:


    I agree with your take on the situation now faced by I-732 and support setting it aside in favor of joining the forces of CarbonWA’s grassroots support with the many progressive organizations that have been involved in putting together the Alliance’s policy — joining together to support an initiative that has a real chance to pass — in an effort that has the resources necessary to take on the huge amount of cash and misinformation the fossil fuel industry is likely to throw at us.

    With the blood, sweat, and tears (and time away from your family) you’ve put into CarbonWA over the past few years, this was a very brave and admirable letter to send out at this juncture. I first saw a presentation you gave at the University Unitarian Church late last fall or winter and then saw you again at Town Hall as part of a program looking at the Governor’s proposal and CarbonWA — and got on the mailing list and signed the petition early on.

    I agree that at this point I-732 doesn’t stand much, if any, chance of being approved. We have a real window open this year to getting citizen approval of carbon pricing in Washington and so it’s not enough to merely run an initiative that serves to open up conversation — not when there is an alternative that has a better, more realistic chance of passing.

    All the CarbonWA folks, from the leadership to the many, many volunteers and petition gatherer’s who have also put so much effort and belief into the CarbonWA so far, deserve a huge amount of praise and applause for the hard work that’s been done to get the ball rolling on carbon pricing, to prod others who were slow on the uptake to get involved, and to demonstrate that there is significant grass-roots support behind putting a price on carbon.

    The one thing you say that I do worry about is how much weight you’ll give to the response of CarbonWA’s supporters in making the final decision of whether to go forward with 732 at this point. The folks who have been working hard to gather signatures over all these months are likely to feel like the rug is being yanked out from under them and to be running so much on emotion right now in their responses — and unlike those of you on the executive committee of CarbonWA who are well aware of the big picture and the numbers, they won’t have access to much actual relevant information needed to make an informed decision. Lack of information tied with emotions do not make for good decisions.

    And while the poor polling numbers and lack of widespread support and access to serious funding you mention are pretty worrisome, there’s a factor you didn’t touch on that I think poses an even higher hurdle — the analysis by the State Department of Revenue of the budgetary impact of 732 on the state’s general fund. Their estimate is that by the second biennium, passage of I-732 will result in nearly $600 Million being subtracted from the general fund. Some may disagree with some of the assumptions DOR makes to reach their numbers, but the key thing is that those numbers will appear as part of voter information on 732. And beyond just the budget problems that shortfall will cause, I think it also means it’s likely that because of the hits their constituents will take in the cuts that will be required, the largest labor unions (including the state employees and the AFL-CIO) will not just not support 732, but will actively campaign against it. As will low-income and organizations of people of color.

    Beyond proposing a “fee” rather than a “tax” (yes, I know it’s semantics) and seeming to be intent on structuring their initiative to be more certain that’s the language used for the ballot, I like that the Alliance initiative also aims at “clean air” and “clean water,” in addition to climate change alone. As a health professional, I know that the problem with emissions extends way beyond just carbon dioxide and warming. Millions, even billions of people, especially children and the disadvantaged, are already being hurt and having their lives harmed and shortened by air pollution — by the release of the other gases in those emissions. Being able to address the health impacts of emissions and talk about the health co-benefits that will result right away from reducing emissions is a huge deal and a winning approach!

    Thanks for all you’ve done to get us to this point. Now let’s join together and move forward to doing the hard work of passing the first citizens’ carbon initiative.

    • David MacLeod says:

      Although I’ve already posted my opinion that we should stick with the original plan, I want to say that your comment, Ken, is well argued and has merit, and is worth consideration. Thank you.

  • Tim Hesterberg says:

    Suppose both measures go to the ballot. Does the presence of both hurt
    the chances of both?
    (Will people vote no on both because of confusion?)
    (Will people vote no on both because they don’t want to risk 2x carbon tax?)
    (Would it dilute volunteer time and donor $?)

    If we pull back, the Alliance would still have to write a measure and
    get it on the ballot.
    How much would that cost ($ and volunteer time)?
    What are their chances of success?

    If we turn in signatures now, could we change our mind later (if the Alliance succeeds in getting to the ballot)?
    If not, could we make use the Voter’s Guide to say something like:
    “We urge you to support Referendum X – we are uniting behind that referendum.”

    What are the chances of the legislature acting to pass this?
    Any chance that R’s might vote for this because they fear Ref X more?

    How quickly could the legislature act?
    If they would act, what is the effect on the Alliance measure?
    Is there a chance that they might act quickly enough that the Alliance
    would stop (and save $ and time)?

    • Ramez Naam says:

      The general wisdom is that having two separate measures on the ballot reduces the chance of both.

    • sharon says:

      These are good questions. I would also love to emphasize a new one:

      What is the likelihood of the legislature (especially with climate denier legislators like Ericksen who have used this strategy before) will try to change the initiative? Wouldn’t that send two versions to the voters in 2016 (without even considering the Alliance’s)?

  • Ramez Naam says:

    I’d like to clarify a couple things here:

    1. This wasn’t an Alliance poll. This was a poll we co-wrote with Nature Conservancy. All of the polling was done with our participation. We wrote and re-wrote sections, and saw the results in detail. We poked at them to try to disprove the results. But the results seem solid, and consistent with other state and national polls and measures of voter sentiment.

    2. The proposal we’d switch to is not an Alliance proposal. It’s a compromise with WEC, WCV, Climate Solutions, and TNC. And it’s one where on virtually every change we’ve requested, they’ve bent.

    3. In particular, the proposal is not a cap-and-trade measure. It’s a carbon price that rises over time (like I-732); funds the Working Families Tax Rebate (like I-732); gives a break to farms, buses, trains, and ferries (like I-732); and (instead of cutting the sales tax) uses most of the rest of the money to invest in clean energy, clean water, and forest health.

    4. If we decide not to hand in our signatures, we will not be ceding control to the Alliance. Instead, a new organization will be created, chartered specifically around passing this measure, with an agreement in writing around the parameters of the measure. CarbonWA staff and board members would have large roles in that. And the new organization would be funded and bound by those written commitments around policy.

    5. We all want bi-partisan policy. In looking at this, what the data show, both in our polls and in numerous national polls, is that clean energy, clean water, and clean air have massive bipartisan appeal. Indeed, in our most recent poll and in other polls nationally, those all have more *bipartisan* appeal than revenue-neutrality.

    6. Finally, we do feel we have a responsibility to our volunteers, our donors, and the people who signed the initiative. That responsibility, first and foremost, is to deliver a win against climate change. That is our overriding priority in all our discussions of how to move forward.

    • Rob Jellinghaus says:

      Now *that* is all very encouraging, and the details about what would be in the “carbon fee” — especially how so much of it looks just like I-732 — completely relieves my ethical concerns.

      This looks to me like a better strategy all around, and I support it. Mez, it would be good IMHO for you and Yoram to send a follow-on communication to everyone highlighting these specific points, as they need to be widely understood for the conversation to be most productive.

    • Thad Curtz says:

      With all due respect, Raam, I find it extremely hard to believe that whatever this group of environmental organizations might propose or agree to does not have to be vetted by the rest of the Alliance. These groups have been wedded to building this wide coalition for some years. Unless they’ve had a come to Jesus moment that I haven’t heard about, they are not parting from it now, just negotiating for it.

      If giving up revenue neutrality and wrapping a carbon pricing in the mantel of clean energy is and has been such a polling favorite, I’d like to know why I-732 wasn’t written that way in the beginning…

  • Clifford Mass says:


    Important question and points:

    How large a poll was it? How was the population sampled? Critical information.

    If the legislature passes our initiative, there is no need to go to polls next November? Isn’t that right?

    Has CarbonWa polled all the state legislators directly? How do we know it will not pass?

    • Rob Jellinghaus says:

      Cliff, I do not see why you would believe an informal poll of GOP legislators on this issue. I would only believe a public, on-the-record statement of support by a given legislator, and I know for a fact that no GOP legislators (and few Dems) have come out publicly in support of I-732.

      I am much more prepared to believe well-run public polls (which I believe this was) than an informal, off-the-record poll of legislators with a substantial stake in sinking the effort.

    • sharon says:

      I get that you’ve talked to some reasonable sounding legislators. Many of them actually are. And they may actually agree with you while saying all the right things. But vote counts at this stage are extremely unreliable because they will only give you a snapshot of what they would do if it was already on the floor. It doesn’t look at the negotiations inbetween. The best way to actually see how the legislators will act is by looking at who actually pushes things through, wins on actual fights and which legislators (with power & on committees) are actually *passionate* about the topic.

      Unfortunately, we have legislators with power that are *passionate* about maintaining the status quo. A good example is an oil train safety bill that was pushed through session. Ericksen created a separate, extremely weakened bill. He used it as an opportunity to negotiate many things he wanted and it ultimately passed anyways. This was at a time when there were oil trains literally derailing and exploding around the country. The safety measure even had huge bipartisan support throughout the state! Yet he still was able to weaken it. What would make this different?

    • Ramez Naam says:

      The poll was 500 people for each measure.

      The population was weighted to reflect likely 2016 voter demographics. I checked the weighting myself against 2012 actual voter demographics, and it matched well. I wanted and tried to poke holes in it and failed.

      Yes, if the legislature passed I-732 it would not go to the people. We have invested substantial resources in trying to win success in the legislature. All I can say is that it looks extremely unlikely.

      Cliff, feel free to email me if you want more details.

  • Hue Beattie says:

    We will eat pie in the sky when we die. Maybe the “alliance” will get it’s shit together by then. But for now turn in the signatures. We can get plenty of votes on the sales tax reduction to pass the initiative.

  • Todd Mitchell says:

    350,000 people had a “We the people” moment when they signed our petition to put a revenue-neutral carbon tax before the legislature and the electorate. They didn’t sign to put a “revenue-neutral or something like it” carbon tax to a vote. We may not win with either formulation, but we have earned the right to have I-732 introduced to the legislature and, if necessary, discussed by and voted on by the electorate. The process of educating the citizens of Washington State about how to get to a low-carbon world needs to begin immediately, and not six months from now after some other group replicates our efforts.

  • John Q. Public says:

    I am a Republican and I not only signed the initiative, but I gave a very generous contribution. Not all Republicans are Neanderthals as some comments seem to suggest. But the revenue neutrality was very important to me and others like me-otherwise it become a giveaway for the Governor and the dems. You are going to lose me and people like me if you move to the alternative. I hope you have enough votes in king county to balance folks like me who will vote against the alternative measure. JQP

    • Baxter the Actor says:

      So JQ, you’re willing to sacrifice carbon pricing because it won’t be revenue neutral? Your support for addressing climate change seems very flaky. Funding programs that improve forest health, protect clean water, and build clean energy isn’t a ‘giveaway for the Democrats’. Don’t Republicans want these things too?

  • Patrick Mazza says:

    I hope when I hear spending on forest health it’s not forest thinning. That will raise a whole new set of objections.

    • Ramez Naam says:

      As written, the forest health area prioritizes investments that increase carbon sequestration.

      Thinning seems unlikely to fit that priority, except in the cases where thinning is seen as critical to forest fire prevention.

      • Thad Curtz says:

        Well, Section 7 (1) of I-801 says:

        Funds may be used for:

        (b) Improving forest health through thinning or prescribed fire,
        with priority given to projects proposed pursuant to a forest
        collaborative planning process establishing ecological and public
        safety goals across local, state, federal and/or private ownerships.

        Is that still in there?

  • David MacLeod says:

    I would feel much more comfortable sticking with the original plan.

    For me, the gold standard would be what celebrated climate scientist James Hansen suggests: “an across the board, rising carbon fee is collected from fossil fuel companies at the place where the fossil fuel enters a domestic market, that is, at the domestic mine or port of entry.”

    Hansen also says “All funds collected from fossil fuel companies should be distributed to the public. This is needed for the public to endorse a substantial consistently rising carbon price and to provide individuals with the wherewithal to phase in needed changes in energy use choices.”

    I encourage everyone to check out Hansen’s paper, The Imperative of a Carbon Fee and Dividend.

    The further the CarbonWa proposal veers away from the above, the less enthusiastic I become. According to Hansen, the approaches touted by the “Big Green” environmental advocacy groups are not going to get us where we need to go. Caps won’t work because we’re never going to find the right formula that 195 nations can agree to. Capture and storage, clean coal, etc. is a mythological technology. And Andrew Nikiforuk says “We might also have to abandon the myth of “clean energy,” because every form of energy comes with an ecological price tag and a moral quandary.” Hansen specifically criticizes Germany’s approach on that front, with the end result that “global emissions decline little, if at all.” See Nikiforuk’s article, “What Worries the World’s Most Famous Climate Scientist?”

    The idea of directing carbon fees to “clean energy” projects invites a hornet’s nest of potential problems and boondoggles, and reinforces the illusion that we can have our cake and eat it too – that we can just substitute our way out of our predicament.

  • Ron Sherman-Peterson says:

    I favor turning in the signatures for the following three reasons:
    1. From an ethical if not from a legal point of view, I believe that no one has a right to collect and then throw away 350,000 of other people’s signatures. Everybody who signed the initiative did so in good faith because they wanted the CarbonWA proposal to go on the ballot.
    2. It will be a public relations nightmare if it hits the newspapers that a group collected 350,000 signatures and then did not file the initiative. I think the bad publicity will hurt our movement.
    3. I am not ready to place my trust in the Alliance. We do not know what they are going to propose. At best it will be a wonderful proposal that we all can support. At worst, it may not materialize at all, which would result in a serious derailment of efforts to achieve a carbon tax and to reduce carbon in the atmosphere.
    I applaud the careful thought that Yoram and others have put into this decision and also the fair and evenhanded approach Yoram and others have taken in dealing with the Alliance.
    The above is my opinion alone and not necessarily that of any other individuals or groups with which I am associated.
    I am a signer and a contributor (not a signature gatherer).

  • Cliff Mass says:

    I listened to the online discussion. The key point is that there is no real evidence that we can’t get the legislature to vote this in. Forget the popular election. If we can get most of the democrats and a few Republicans, we can get the votes this spring and it will be over. We will have won. Are we really ready to throw this possibility away? No one has done any real count on the legislators. Come next fall there will be massive, well financed opposition to us…but not in the legislature this spring. No one realizes what we could do…apparently not even CarbonWa leadership. Just tragic to give up the chance. CarbonWa leadership should honor the 350,000 signatures and do what people signed for.

    • Guy says:

      Agreed. 350k signed for a rev neutral carbon tax to be sent to the legislature. Honor their voice. Don’t block them for something that *might* happen and *might* have language that is acceptable.

    • Baxter the Actor says:

      Cliff Mass – You gotta be kidding me! Do you think that a Republican will vote for this in the legislature? Have you been following what’s been going in Olympia? Word on the street is that the Dems won’t vote for it either cuz of the fear that will go revenue –

  • OregonJon says:

    Although I post as OregonJon the policies in Oregon drove me northward at retirement. My thoughts on a revenue neutral carbon tax are simple:

    – Revenue neutral is the macro result. Individually there will be winners and losers. The losers make the most noise, rendering political action impossible.
    – The petition is just “feel good” twaddle. There is no plan, just a desire to “do something.” None of the 350,000 who signed have the slightest idea of what is to be done.
    – Signing the petition makes people feel good, but “feel good” is the very basis for fearing the tyranny of the majority. Feel good is a poor basis for enduring public policy.
    – Any action on carbon reduction in Washington State has zero impact on AGW. John Kerry is on video from Paris saying that if all the industrialized nations reduced carbon emissions to zero there would still be AGW coming from developing nations.
    – Any program to tax carbon will suck all the oxygen out of Olympia, making the passage of other more important programs difficult, if not impossible.
    * There are many programs that could benefit Washington residents now: clean up Hanford before it contaminates the Columbia River (yes, I know this is s Federal concern, but just look at what isn’t happening.
    * The near term threat posed by the Seattle Fault and the Cascadia Subduction Zone can only be meant by government resolve. With so many urgent needs it is difficult for government to deal with potential threats, unless that potential threat is AGW. Balderdash, a major quake in either of the above will devastate the state. We should be spending money on hardening infrastructure, etc.

    One could go on, but let’s stop wasting time with programs that just make us feel good, but will make no meaningful change to the problem purportedly being addressed.

    Dream on, Jon.

  • Larry Gussin says:

    I commend Yoram et al for this honest communication. I think the compromise should be accepted, for these reasons:
    1. The new poll favoring the compromise, as explained by Ramez
    2. While some conservative & libertarian thinkers make the case for a revenue neutral carbon tax, the current support among politicians and voters in these blocs isn’t enough to help I-732.
    3. While I believe the progressive position (including among national green groups like Sierra Club) opposing revenue neutral options must be challenged on moral and other grounds, I don’t think this bloc will change their positions in time to help I-732 enough.
    4. Without strong support from either of these groups, the $$ support for an I-732 campaign will be far from enough.
    5. While the Alliance has run a woeful grass roots campaign and may not even know how to, it has built a strong grass tops coalition, which is needed just as much. My personal hope is that Carbonwa will take a lead role in the grass roots campaign for the compromise initiative.

    In sum, I think Carbonwa has been leading the climate movement in 2015, but is too far out in front to get the support I-732 would need. I think we should all coalesce around the compromise initiative. The whole world will be watching us in 2016.

  • Steve Price says:

    350,000 people supported putting the initiative on the ballot. That is a big number given your low-budget and weak fundraising. And your lack of access to and lack of support from many individuals and organizations associated with climate solutions and the alliance. It may be that 50% of the people who signed were merely voicing discontent with the lack of government action on climate change. And maybe the other 50% actually understood what the initiative proposes to do. But they all signed and they all support you.
    Delivering the signatures will be a major success; in and by itself. Regardless of what happens in the November elections. You may well find that you have much greater visibility and response from politicians, business leaders, and social and cultural leaders once you have delivered those signatures and are on the ballot. Delivering those signatures is a major filter to prevent the public and are electives from dealing with issues that do not have enough public support. You will get a different reaction going forward once you are on the ballot.
    The org will have no political future if you do not turn in the signatures and keep on with the campaign. Do not take the above statement to be self-serving or egotistical. We need experienced politicians and political operatives, fundraisers and grassroots community organizers, in the environmental and climate realm. You folks have gained a lot of experience. We need that experience in the future. Losing the election does not lose you credibility. But collecting 350,000 signatures and not submitting them does lose you credibility. The climate needs you to keep on working on the problem.
    I know your email questions what is best for the climate and the environment. I think that for the legislature to see that a poorly funded and fairly unexperienced and unsupported group had enough signatures to get on the ballot because of concerns about climate change is a very strong message and may well change how some legislators act.
    I think forcing the argument into the public sphere regarding what is actually good for the environment versus what makes us feel good is a very important debate to have. And the American system is about debate and about making a fuss in public.
    Polls are only polls. They are not the election. The election is nine months away and many things can happen between now and then. You have a real product that you are ready to ship. The alliance is posturing. Would they have even gone the initiative route if you had not forced them? Maybe climate solutions/the alliance have or can claim higher poll numbers, but they do not have anything ready for the ballot. You do.
    Remember that individuals involved in climate solutions/the alliance have failed politically before, both at the legislature level and at the initiative level. Do you guys remember the Commons? It failed twice. Do you remember the monorail? It did pass and then crashed and burned due to a lack of management and budgeting before during and after the election.
    Carbon Washington has a strong simple approach. Voters have good bullshit detectors.
    Debate and conflict are not bad, especially if they can result in a better outcome. Part of the outcome here might not be winning in November, but forcing a broad conversation about the issue and forcing politicians to take stands.

    Steve Price

  • Ted Wolf says:

    A supporter of CarbonWA since early days, I have been impressed by the entire I-732 team’s consistent integrity, transparency, and good humor through a long and challenging campaign. This current moment “on the fence” is no different, and I commend you for sharing the parameters of the pending decision with all your volunteers, supporters, and the interested public.

    As an Oregon voter, I am watching with interest as my state begins its own exploration of carbon pricing policies.

    The Paris Agreement concluded at the recent COP21 conference makes clear that effective policies to restrain carbon pollution are no longer just “nice to have” policies; by the consensus of nearly 200 countries including the U.S. they are now “need to have” policies.

    A “swing and a miss” at carbon pollution in 2016 is not what the moment calls for.

    I appreciate Ramez Naam’s summary of the available alternative in Comment #24, above. Particularly this passage:

    (The emerging proposal is) “a carbon price that rises over time (like I-732); funds the Working Families Tax Rebate (like I-732); gives a break to farms, buses, trains, and ferries (like I-732); and (instead of cutting the sales tax) uses most of the rest of the money to invest in clean energy, clean water, and forest health.”

    That sounds responsible, comprehensive, and closely aligned with the core commitments that the I-732 team pledged to the 350,000 signers for ballot qualification.

    As someone who cannot cast a vote in Washington State, I will not advise CarbonWA about which path to take. But I have every confidence that CarbonWA’s leadership can be trusted to weigh the trade-offs and available evidence and reach the decision with the best chance of reaching the objective that really matters:

    2016 adoption of a policy that uses a straightforward price mechanism to achieve meaningful and permanent reductions in carbon pollution.

    Happy Holidays, everyone.

  • Robert Beekman says:

    Turn the signatures in. If you don’t you are breaking faith with all the people who signed and all the people who gathered signatures. Give the people a chance to express their collective will by voting and quit trying to guess what they actually want based on notoriously unreliable polling and the still indeterminate actions by an Alliance of NGO professionals that has had an underwhelming record of political failure in getting CO2 emission regulation.

  • Steve Verhey says:

    Is anyone else reading from Eastern Washington? I’d like to talk about this offline. Steve Verhey, [email protected], 509-899-4956.

  • Patrick Mazza says:

    Well, all, I’ve weighed in on the issue at my Cascadia Planet blog. I know a number of you will disagree, but I’m coming out in support of the alternative measure.

  • Guy says:

    Another example of the political pressure 801x will be under:

    • Baxter the Actor says:

      Guy, you’re citing an article by Shift WA, which is a cut throat, misleading right wing blog that attacks anything and everything progressive. I’m not worried about what their blog says in relation to reality.

      • Guy says:

        Baxter, you are correct. The other article I posted is also from a right wing org.

        My point is to educate on what 801x is going to face. Revenue neutral carbon tax that lowers the sales tax and funds working families will get bipartisan support. 801x will be branded from day 1 along the lines of the two articles above.

        As soon as you move to something that is not rev neutral, you lose support.

        If rev neutral is at 40% there is no way a rev positive measure is at 57%. That is completely at odds with all available data other than the poll cited in the email.

  • Patrick Mazza says:

    I’m not sure it will be from Steyer, but there will be a pool of funds that CarbonWA can use to re-qualify its initiative if the other parties do not live up to their commitments, enough to do it with paid signature gatherers. There will be some optical challenges, but this is an “insurance policy,” not a payoff.

  • Robert Beekman says:

    I am surprised that in all the talk about what positions and actions Republicans in the Legislature might take, about what Republican and Democratic and independent voters might do, whether the voting public has the focus and stamina for a “serious” discussion of climate change, NOBODY HAS SAID ANYTHING ABOUT THE DEMORALIZING, ALIENATING, AND DOWNRIGHT ANTAGONIZING EFFECT OF THROWING AWAY THE CITIZEN SIGNATURES THAT WOULD QUALIFY I-732 for the ballot.

    We all care about climate change, but we should also be caring about ethical straight-shooting in politics. Such deal-cutting and suppression of citizen petitions is unworthy of progressive values.

    I don’t claim to be any kind of political expert, but I would be willing to bet that if you do not turn in the signatures, there will be a move in the next legislature toward requiring initiative campaigns to submit all signatures obtained once they get the minimum.

    • Guy says:

      Here here.

      The referendum that 350k people signed didn’t say “we support a revenue neutral carbon tax unless the carbonwa exec board decides to change their mind a few days before the cut off.”

  • Steve Verhey says:

    Great news just now!

  • Cliff Mass says:

    In the end, the CarbonWA exec committee listened to its constituency and we can appreciate and respect them for that decision. Considering our large numbers and commitment, we should have some faith we can make something important happen during the next few months.

  • Robert Beekman says:

    Excellent decision. The poll that finally counts will be the one next November! Let’s all work toward that.

  • Guy says:

    Thank you execs!

  • Travis Krick says:

    I’m conservative and support decarbonization, but I won’t see carbon money being wasted on pity-party programs that have nothing to do with climate change. You don’t help people by reinforcing their dependence. I’ll support this initiative, but I won’t support a revenue positive program with all the attached constituents (and their requisite collections plates) that come along with the Alliance movement. So please do send in your signatures and create this initiative. I will do my best to explain to my friends why this initiative is good for us all, left and right. I also think initial polling could change simply by changing the name of the initiative to something that does not include “tax”. Instead, use the term: “revenue-neutral redistribution strategy”, or something like that that is less long.

  • This week, next week, last week | Carbon WA says:

    […] etc. After our preliminary decision (on Sat Dec 19) it took a couple of days to draft the email that went out on M Dec 21, and after our final decision (on W Dec 23) it took a couple of hours to […]

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