Campaign News

Highlights

We are finalizing our ballot language and will have signature-gathering trainings / kick-offs in Seattle on Saturday April 11 and in Bellevue on Sunday April 19 (register here!); we’ve got a new research post showing that the CarbonWA proposal will be the biggest improvement to the progressivity of the Washington State tax system since the 1977 ballot measure that exempted groceries from the sales tax (!!); and a review of our winter deliverables produces an overall grade of B-plus: good progress but improvement is possible, especially with pledges for signature-gathering (hint hint)!

Ballot language

It will be another week or so until we get final ballot language, but here’s the preliminary ballot title (the 30-word summary that will appear on the ballot):

Initiative Measure No. [ ] concerns taxes. This measure would impose a carbon emission tax on certain fossil fuels and fossil-fuel-generated electricity, reduce the sales tax by one percentage point and increase a low-income exemption, and reduce certain manufacturing taxes. Should this measure be enacted into law? Yes [ ] No [ ].

This language is not everything we could have asked for, but we think it’s a fair description of our policy and we’re excited to get this finalized so that we can print petitions and start gathering signatures! Folks in Seattle can come to signature gathering training / kick-off events in Seattle on Saturday April 11 and in Bellevue on Sunday April 19 (register here!). Stay tuned for more news and everybody please check out these two training videos (one, two, both posted previously) from Katherine Bragdon of Active Roots Consulting here in Seattle; ignore the specific issues and focus on the goals and strategies.

Final review of winter deliverables

Now that spring has officially begun let’s look back at our winter deliverables:

  1. Become part of the conversation (grade: A-plus). The latest evidence of our success is a Washington Research Council report (“Carbon taxation”) that discusses our proposal in depth (although the short bit of analysis at the end is surprisingly weak and conflates our proposal with the Governor’s cap-and-trade proposal). Other major media hits include our endorsement from Seattle Business magazine, appearances in the state Bar Association’s February Environmental and Land Use Law Newsletter and on the Miller Nash law firm’s “Science, Law, & the Environment” blog; discussions in the Washington State Wire (see also here), the Everett Herald, Patrick Mazza’s Cascadia Planet blog, Jim Conca’s Forbes blog, Crosscut, Grist (see also this Grist interview with Governor Inslee), and Seattle Met magazine; back-to-back appearances in the Seattle Times plus a mention in these articles and an editorial board plug for revenue neutrality; panel discussions on climate policy at UW, Town Hall, CityClub, and in Olympia; and this G-Squared poll that found majority support for our proposal plus over 75% support from voters aged 18-34.
  2. Set up 20 chapters around the state (grade: B). In the end campaign co-directors Kyle and Duncan decided to focus on quality rather than quantity, so we’ve got 10 chapters set up: Bainbridge Island, Bellevue, Lopez Island, Greater Seattle, Thurston, Tri-Cities, Vancouver, Whatcom, Whidbey Island, and Yakima. Email kyle@carbonWA.org if you want to set up a chapter in your area!
  3. Get pledges for 200,000 signatures (grade: C-minus). We are currently at 140,000 signature pledges. You can help by pledging here! All it takes is time (4 hours will get you 100 signatures, 40 hours will get you 1000 signatures), as shown in these two training videos (one, two, both posted previously) from Katherine Bragdon of Active Roots Consulting here in Seattle; ignore the specific issues and focus on the goals and strategies.
  4. Connect with businesses, organizations, and economists (grade: B-minus). Our major accomplishment here was getting an endorsement from Citizens Climate Lobby, a terrific organization with chapters around the state (and around the world!) that advocates a fee-and-dividend policy. We also have endorsements from 38 economists and from a handful of business leaders. We expect to expand many of these endorsements lists now that our “relief pitcher” role is transitioning to a more active role.
  5. Raise $100k (grade: A). This was a huge stretch for us (last year’s fundraising was more like $10k) but we did it, thanks to a moneybomb that raised over $10k, generous contributions from a handful of major donors, and ongoing donations (including scheduled monthly donations) from dozens of people on this email list. Thank you!
  6. Finalize our legal language (grade: A). See the plain language description and the annotated legal language (note that these are still subject to minor changes in the next two weeks) and big thanks to our legal team!
  7. Expand our social media presence (grade: A). We’ve got 749 Facebook “likes” (up from 570) and 279 Twitter followers (up from just 100!) and have an active presence on both sites. And this email newsletter goes out to almost 2000 readers!
  8. Review and update printed materials and website (grade: B). We’ve got a bit more work to do, but we are on track as we head towards the signature gathering phase of the campaign.

As extra credit I’d like to flag some accomplishments that weren’t part of our winter deliverables: We hired Kyle and Duncan as campaign co-directors (stay tuned for more hiring news soon!), we opened a campaign office (1914 N 34th St Suite 407, near Gasworks Park), and we worked with Justin Bare in UW Computer Science to finalize the carbon tax swap calculator (now serving both households and businesses). Great work!

And I’d like to offer up my favorite story from the winter. It came from one of our Steering Committee meetings, which during the winter took place on Thursdays at 5:30pm. One of those Thursdays happened to be on January 1st, but our determination to push forward with the campaign was stronger than New Year’s sentimentality, so we agreed to meet as usual on the UW campus at 5:30pm. A series of text messages then revealed that UW buildings were locked, so we moved the meeting to Big Time,  which turned out to be closed, so we moved the meeting to Starbucks,  which closed at 6pm, so we moved the meeting to Cafe on the Ave… which matched our persistence by staying open. We ended up having a great meeting (Kyle, Duncan, Carter, Dani, and yours truly) so the moral of the story is Don’t Give Up the Fight!

Looking to volunteer?

We’ve got a half dozen volunteers who have offered to host a fundraiser/friendraiser house party, but there’s room for more, so email duncan@carbonwa.org ASAP if you want to host a fun event in April or May. You provide the space, we’ll take care of the details!

Upcoming events:

  • W April 1 in Seattle: There will be a brief presentation about CarbonWA during this 350 Seattle meeting.
  • Sat April 11 in Seattle: Signature gathering training / kick-off at Seattle University Unitarian Church. (Register here!)
  • Sun April 19 in Bellevue: Signature gathering training / kick-off at Bellevue Library. (Register here!)
  • Details and other upcoming events here.

Readings

The most important reading of this week is “The Conservative Case for a Carbon Tax”, by Jerry Taylor, formerly of the Cato Institute and now the President of the Niskanen Center. Don’t just read the blog summary, read the entire thing; you’ll be glad you did. The second most important reading of the week is “Carbon taxes are even better than you think (Part III: Social justice)”, our new research report showing that the CarbonWA proposal will be the biggest improvement to the progressivity of the Washington State tax system since the 1977 ballot measure that exempted groceries from the sales tax (!). Other readings include “Inslee’s carbon tax absent from House Dems’ budget” (we’re still trying to figure out what the implications of this are for CarbonWA’s “relief pitcher” role, but for one perspective check out Patrick Mazza’s post via 350 Seattle) and the text of Bill Nordhaus’s presidential address to the American Economic Association on “Climate clubs”.

As always, comments welcome on the blog, or via Facebook or Twitter.

Regards,

Yoram

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