The Yes on 732 campaign realizes and respects that every organization, just like every voter, has a right to their own priorities and positions in regard to Initiative 732. That being said, FUSE’s published materials are WRONG about I-732. Not only do they contain inaccurate information, but FUSE has also ignored or refused multiple attempts by I-732 leadership to engage in dialogue about the initiative. You can read FUSE’s position on I-732 and our response below.
Fuse Washington’s position on I-732
FUSE states: “Not only would the Alliance’s proposal help fund clean energy investments, but it would also help fix our state’s upside-down tax system by making the biggest polluters pay their fair share.”
This statement implies 1) that the Alliance has a written proposal (it does not) and 2) that a carbon tax could come out of the profits of “the biggest polluters,” such as oil companies and utilities alone, but experts agree that most if not all carbon taxes are passed down to consumers. Fossil fuel taxes on consumers, without a rebate of some kind, would actually make our regressive tax code worse. I-732 avoids being regressive by lowering the sales tax and funding the Working Families Rebate (WFR). Taken all together, an independent analysis from Sightline Institute concludes that I-732 will be the most progressive change to Washington State’s tax code since the late 1970s.
FUSE states: “Unfortunately, I-732’s revenue neutral approach would prohibit us from making necessary investments in our communities.”
FUSE never offers an example of what these ‘necessary investments’ are, nor how much it would cost to fund them. We believe that I-732 does not sideline or inhibit public investments not specifically included in I-732. That being said, FUSE completely misses that I-732 directs $250 million per year directly into the hands of 460,000 low income families in Washington. Studies show programs like the Working Families Rebate (WFR) are one of the most effective ways to fight poverty and improve public health. Together with the reduction in the state sales tax, the funding for the WFR in I-732 is a huge anti-poverty investment. In fact, FUSE joined many others in signing onto a letter of support for the WFR touting its benefits which makes their lack of support for I-732 all the more astounding: http://fairwarevenue.org/sign-on-letter-working-families-tax-rebate/
FUSE states: “However, recent comments by Bauman compelled us to publicly endorse the Alliance and voice our opposition to I-732.”
An initiative is about passing a law, not electing a person. FUSE’s focus on a one-time comment from a single person distracts both from the stakes at hand – rising carbon emissions and the serious impacts that come with it – and the hundreds of volunteers, 30 chapters, and over 1000 donors that make up the whole Yes on 732 campaign. Let’s talk about how we can address climate change and help Washington families with a smart and effective policy instead of focusing on a single individual.
We hoped (and still hope) to engage FUSE in dialogue, to make sure they understand the benefits of I-732 and also to make sure we understood the concerns they may have. Unfortunately, our many attempts to reach out to FUSE have been ignored or rebuffed. We hope this public response will open up further dialogue about the best way we can all work together to fight climate change.
We need to take bold action on climate change now. I-732 uses a proven method to effectively reduce carbon emissions, progressively reform our tax code, and meet the moral obligation we have to our kids and grandkids to leave behind a safe, clean environment. You can Pledge to Vote YES on I-732 this November right here!