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audubon I-732Yes On I-732
MEDIA STATEMENT

I-732 tackles the root causes of climate change while making the state tax system fairer.

Seattle, November 3, 2016—This November, Washington will vote on Initiative 732, a measure that addresses the root causes of climate change while making the state tax system fairer. If passed, I-732 would put in place the nation’s first carbon tax. The world is warming at an alarming rate, and scientists and economists agree that putting an effective price on carbon emissions is the single most important thing we can do to reverse this trend. We have a moral responsibility to protect our children and future generations by tackling climate change now, and leaving them a cleaner, healthier, safer world.

Regarding the environmental establishment’s opposition to I-732, The Washington Post Editorial Board said these groups “are not defending the perfect. Their approach would be worse than what is on Washington’s ballot. They are wrong on the politics and wrong on the substance.”

Yoram Bauman, Founder and Co-Chair of Carbon Washington: “This campaign shows that large numbers of people are tired of seeing too little happen to fight climate change and are dedicated to taking action. With I-732 we have a historic opportunity to become the first state in the country to put a price on carbon emissions, accelerate the shift to a clean-energy economy, and make our tax system more equitable for everyone.”

Gail Gatton, Executive Director of Audubon Washington: “How much longer can we wait to finally take meaningful action on climate change? Initiative 732 will help birds and people by reducing carbon pollution and lowering our sales tax. Opportunity doesn’t knock very often, so let’s open the door to a cleaner future.”

Independent sustainability think tank Sightline Institute published an in-depth analysis of I-732 concluding:

  • “We find I-732 a worthy policy to put Washington on a path to cutting pollution and encouraging clean energy while also helping low-income families by making Washington State taxes less regressive.”
  • “A carbon price starting at $15 and steadily rising to $100 in midcentury will put wind in the sails of Washington’s clean energy economy as nothing else possible. It will hasten the decline of coal; level the playing field for clean renewable energy; motivate companies to squeeze pollution out of their processes; encourage more convenient alternatives to driving alone and more efficient vehicles; concentrate urban growth in dense, walkable communities; and spur investment in clean business and technology innovations. The I-732 pollution price would amplify other clean energy policies and speed the Evergreen State toward a thriving clean energy economy.”
  • “Initiative 732 does exactly what the scientists and economists prescribe: it sets a science-based, steadily rising price on pollution. The citizens’ initiative covers most of the state’s climate pollution, makes the tax code more progressive, and is administratively elegant.”
  • “So the main answer to the question of whether I-732 is revenue neutral is, to the degree that any short-and-simple initiative can balance tax cuts and a carbon pollution tax over decades, yes. It’s revenue neutral. Even by the Department’s estimate, it’s within 1 percent of neutrality in the near term. By Sightline’s estimate, it’s within 0.37 percent … As an argument against I-732, therefore, the ‘revenue hole’ case is a red herring.”
  • “I-732 would be the biggest improvement in the progressivity of Washington’s state tax system in 40 years.”

I-732 is a Tax Swap

Fighting climate change is only part of what I-732 does. Washington has the most regressive state tax code in the country. I-732 uses revenue from the carbon tax to cut the sales tax by a full point, putting hundreds of dollars each year in the pockets of individuals and families across the state. I-732 also eliminates the business tax on manufacturers to help keep them competitive and producing jobs in the state.

Please try the I-732 Tax Swap Calculator, produced by the University of Washington to see how I-732 would impact individuals and businesses.

I-732 is Revenue Neutral

I-732 will not harm the state budget. According to the Sightline Institute, “As an argument against I-732 the ‘revenue hole’ case is a red herring.”

I-732 Helps Low Income Working Families Financially
I-732 also funds the Working Families Tax Rebate (WFTR), providing up to $1,500 a year to 460,000 low-income working families. The program was approved by the legislature eight years ago, but has never been funded, despite being a top progressive priority. I-732 funds the WFTR at a 25 percent match of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which is two and a half times the match that progressives have been lobbying for. This amounts to an investment of over $1 billion over the first six years to fund the Working Families Rebate.

I-732 Improves Health Outcomes

I-732 directly improves the financial health and physical health of low-income communities and communities of color.

Specifically:

  • I-732 reduces carbon pollution and the types of pollution that go with it, like smog and particulates. Low-income households, who often live closer to freeways, factories, and power plants, will get the biggest health benefits out of these pollution reductions.
  • Studies have shown that programs like the Working Families Tax Rebate improve the health of low-income families and kids.

I-732 Endorsements:

  • Open Letter from more than 50 University of Washington climate scientists.
  • James Hansen, former director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. On November 2, Hansen issued a Call to Action for support of I-732.
  • Steven Chu, Secretary of Energy under President Obama from 2009-2013 and winner of the Nobel Prize in physics.
  • Audubon Washington, whose research shows climate change is the number one threat to birds and people. Audubon members recognize this is the best available solution and are taking action.
  • The Washington Post Editorial Board: “The left’s opposition to a carbon tax shows there’s something deeply wrong with the left.”
  • The New York Times Editorial Board: “The idea of putting a price on carbon is…one of the most straightforward, economy-friendly ways to deal with climate change,” and I-732, “could well set an example for other states.”
  • The Stranger: “We don’t have time to make the perfect the enemy of the good when it comes to fighting climate change… sometimes you gotta stop hand-wringing, grab incremental change when you can get it, and then keep right on pushing toward perfect. Vote yes.”

I-732 is neither the beginning nor the end of climate policy. It won’t solve climate change all by itself. And it’s neither the beginning nor the end of progressive policy. It won’t solve poverty or income inequality all by itself. But it is an important and necessary first step.

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. To learn more about I-732, view endorsements, and get involved, visit YesOn732.org.

About Audubon Washington

Established in 1981, Audubon Washington works statewide with its 25 independent chapters and 21,000 members on the conservation of the sagebrush shrub steppe ecosystem in Eastern Washington, protection of coastal estuaries, and actions that address climate change, the number one threat to birds today. Through the Seward Park Audubon Center, we provide science, nature and environmental education programs for youth and families.

Media Contacts

Samara Villasenor
Yes on 732
communications@carbonwa.org
206-478-5643

Nicolas Gonzalez
National Audubon Society
ngonzalez@audubon.org 
212.979.3068