Hello carbon tax friends: We’re one week from qualifying I-732… see the signature countdown below, plus an update on what comes next, including our version of the three Rs: Resting, Reaching out, and wRapping up. (As detailed below, this third item is especially important because we need to finish strong!)
But first things first: Please turn in or mail in every single signature you have by Monday November 30 or shortly thereafter. Our mailing address is PO Box 85565, Seattle WA 98145-1565, or if you want to visit the office in person we’re at 1914 N 34th St, Suite 407, near Gas Works Park in Seattle. Thank you!
Our goal is 330,000+ signatures, and last week we were at 316,950. We are now at 325,067, so we’ve got 4,933 left to go to hit our minimum goal… and you know the drill: check the signature-gathering calendars (in particular here’s Seattle RSVP and Bellevue RSVP forms), share our signature-gathering job postings with students and others who need a bit of cash, connect with us on Facebook and Twitter, volunteer to make phone calls from your home or help out around the campaign office or do data entry from home, help with your local chapter, etc.
Two updates on two different financial fronts: First, state budget numbers can change over time (the state’s revenue estimate for the current biennium went up by over $100 million in just the last two months) so we’ve been working hard to update our fiscal estimates for I-732. We plan to post some updated spreadsheets in the weeks ahead, but for now we are delighted to report that our current analysis is that I-732 will (as intended) be very close to revenue-neutral. (Hooray!) Second, we’ve extended our $50,000 Executive Committee matching challenge until the end of the month because we’ve got $4,365 left to raise. That means you’re in luck if you want to double your donation online or via check!
We have one more week of all-out signature-gathering, and we need to keep our eyes on the ball, but since there have been lots of questions about what comes next we want to offer up our version of the three Rs:
Resting: Let’s be honest, this has been an exhausting signature-gathering campaign: nobody thought we could mount a campaign driven by volunteers and small donors, and we’re on the verge of succeeding thanks to a tremendous amount of hard work and can-do spirit! So the end of December and early January will be a good time to recharge the batteries, especially because this is not the end. We still have a legislative campaign to mount (see the next paragraph) and then–unless the legislature passes I-732–a ballot measure campaign to wage. In other words, we’ve almost reached the the top of one mountain but there are higher summits up ahead… so we are fast approaching the time to celebrate and rest and get ready for the next phase of the campaign! (And, as long as we’re talking about celebrating, remember our Finish Line Party in Seattle on December 11th, info and RSVP here and/or on Facebook.)
Reaching out: We will be kicking off Phase II of our effort this winter, and it is going to require all of us! As part of the next phase we’ll be asking you to reach out to your state legislators, to your local newspaper, and to your favorite local companies and non-profits to ask them to support I-732. We’ll provide help along the way–and we’ll be looking to national and local activists with Citizens Climate Lobby for advice on how to be most effective because they do an amazing job of this–but a good place to start is by emailing your three state representatives (here’s a list of legislator email addresses, or find your legislator here) to tell them that you support I-732 and that you’d like an opportunity to meet with them to talk more about the campaign and to ask for their support. So, as we wind down petitioning, remember this is not the end!
wRapping up: We are on track to hit 330,000 signatures next week, but there is still much work to be done before we wrap up and turn in our signatures. First and foremost, the campaign staff will be working towards a stretch goal of 350,000 signatures. (Why 350,000? Because it has a nice ring to it, and because as you know our actual target is not 330,000 total signatures but 246,372 valid signatures. The Secretary of State doesn’t validate signatures until after the deadline, so although their recommendation is to assume a 25% invalid rate–meaning 328,496 total signatures–we are going to aim for 350,000 total signatures in order to be extra certain.) Now, we are not turning the screws on you to help us get to 350,000– we know that lots of folks need to rest (see above!) –but if you have a personal stretch goal (like joining the 250 Club), or if you want to have fun with us gathering signatures when the new Star Wars movie opens on Dec 18, or if you feel full of energy and just want to keep signature gathering until our final turn-in at the end of December, then you will be in good company with other volunteers and with our staff and our Executive Committee. (I myself am a couple hundred signatures away from 2,000 signatures, which is my own stretch goal :). So, even though we are soon to hit 330,000 signatures, if you can come to one more event in December, fill a final petition before Christmas, or stop by the office to give us some assistance, we still welcome your help. Bottom line: This is not the end!
Lots of news about a carbon tax policy being developed in Alberta (“the Texas of Canada”) thanks to a new provincial government; see for example “Alberta to introduce economy-wide carbon tax in 2017”. (The devil’s in the details but this is definitely a step in the right direction for Alberta!) Along similar lines, the right-of-center climate folks at R Street have a post on why the actual Texas should adopt a carbon tax: “The Texas Path: Preserving energy sovereignty to cut taxes”, full PDF here. (See also “Climate Change Is a Conservative Issue, British Minister Says”.) The Boston Globe has an op-ed (“Inconvenient truths for the environmental movement”) with a shout-out to Citizens Climate Lobby and a thought-provoking caution about “the conceit within the political left that we must cure longstanding social ills such as inequality, corporate greed, racism, and political corruption along the way to dealing with climate change… Whatever you think of such goals, and we agree with many of them, they must not distract us from the priority of preventing catastrophic climate change.” (For a different perspective, check out the new website of the Communities of Color for Climate Justice.) Writing in Wired, Nick Stockton has an uplifting piece on “It’s cheaper for airlines to cut emissions than you think” but notes that we need policies (like a carbon tax!) to close the “economic gap between efficient planes and cheap gas.” Finally, some late-breaking news: Patrick Mazza in Cascadia Planet has a post on “Can a Washington State climate policy train wreck be averted?” (Three cheers for his conclusion: “We should all acknowledge each other as people of good will, and seek the best possible outcomes. We can ill afford a climate policy train wreck. Let’s do all we possibly can to avert one.”)
As always, comments are welcome on the blog, or via Facebook or Twitter, and please send your Tales from the Trails, good or bad, to me at firstname.lastname@example.org (please cc: email@example.com if you can).
Talk to your friends and neighbors about I-732