Washington State revenue-neutral carbon tax initiative attracts growing bipartisan support from leaders who are concerned about the damaging impacts of climate change
SEATTLE, July 12, 2016 – George Shultz (R), Former U.S. Secretary of State & Secretary of the Treasury, and U.S. Representative Jim McDermott (D), have each announced their endorsement of I-732, the country’s first revenue-neutral carbon tax initiative that will go before voters in the November general election. Shultz and McDermott join leaders on both sides of the aisle in their support of this fiscally conservative and socially progressive policy to protect our children and future generations from the negative impacts of climate change. A full list of endorsements can be found at https://yeson732.org/endorsements/.
“The revenue neutral carbon tax uses the marketplace to sort out winners and losers and by being revenue-neutral sees to it that the revenue generated by the tax goes back to the people,” said Schultz. “Congratulations on your effort Carbon Washington. You have my support.”
In his endorsement, McDermott emphatically stated, “Climate change is the biggest market failure of our time. If the United States is to continue to lead and innovate, we must move away from fossil fuels and focus on developing clean, inexpensive, renewable energy sources. A price on carbon is the best policy to promote this change. I proposed legislation similar to I-732 at the federal level, and I’m excited to endorse this state initiative and help Washington launch this nation-leading climate policy. Vote Yes on I-732!”
A Fiscally Responsible Approach to Reducing Carbon Emissions
In an editorial published last year in The Washington Post, Schultz proposes a policy that “levels the playing field for competing sources of energy so that costs imposed on the community are borne by the sources of energy that create them” through a revenue-neutral carbon tax. He notes that this market-driven approach, “the Reagan way,” would eliminate burdensome laws and regulations and inspire creative solutions for reducing carbon emissions.
At the same time, the revenue-neutral approach protects households, businesses, and the economy from the financial burden of higher energy prices by cutting other taxes they currently pay. I-732 reduces the regressive state sales tax and effectively eliminates business taxes on energy-intensive manufacturers. And by funding the Working Families Tax Rebate, I-732 will provide the biggest financial boost to low-income Washington households since a 1977 ballot initiative eliminated the retail sales tax on most food purchases.
Growing Bipartisan Support for a Proven Solution
Economists, climate scientists, and business leaders agree that the most efficient way to reduce carbon pollution is to charge a price for polluting. The I-732 approach is gaining support from both sides of the aisle, which is a significant accomplishment for any initiative, particularly one related to climate policy. Republican state Senator Steve Litzow recently endorsed the measure, saying “I-732 creates a market-driven, non-regulatory incentive to reduce pollution without increasing our total tax burden or the size of government.” Democratic state Representative and House Environment Chair Joe Fitzgibbon recently announced his support as well, saying, “I-732 takes a critical first step in [fighting climate change] and also has helped spark a long-overdue conversation about reforming our broken tax structure.”
Longtime I-732 supporter and former Republican Senate Majority Leader Bill Finkbeiner (R) calls on other fiscally conservative political and business leaders who are concerned about the damaging impacts of climate change to support the measure.
“George Schultz and Jim McDermott have both demonstrated longstanding leadership and resolve in the fight against climate change,” said Finkbeiner. “Republicans have long been on the forefront of major environmental policies such as the Clean Air Act of 1970, creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, Montreal Protocol protecting the ozone layer, and Acid Rain Program reducing coal plant emissions (Clean Air Act of 1990). We have an opportunity now to overcome the partisan gridlock and take action on the biggest environmental threat of our time. I-732 is a fantastic climate policy that all Washingtonians should support this November. I urge others on both sides of the aisle to join with me in backing this fiscally responsible approach to reducing pollution while creating new jobs and economic growth.”
I-732 is patterned after the revenue-neutral British Columbia carbon tax swap which many economists consider to be the best climate policy in the world today. Carbon emissions are down as much as 16% since the policy was implemented, and the economy of British Columbia is doing as well if not better than Canada as a whole. A solid majority of B.C. residents now view the policy favorably, with 61% expressing support in a 2015 poll.
“We have a moral responsibility to our children and future generations to protect them from the harmful effects of climate change,” said Yoram Bauman, founder and co-chair of the Yes on I-732 campaign. “We cannot afford to wait any longer to act. Our carbon budget is running out, and the climate is almost spiralling out of control. In 2016 there is only one way we can take a meaningful step toward reducing carbon pollution, and that is to support I-732.”
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 tax carbon pollution while encouraging economic growth for families and businesses in Washington. To learn more about I-732, view endorsements from around the state, and get involved, visit YesOn732.org and follow on twitter @carbonwa.
I-732 is designed to move the state toward two goals – cleaner energy and fairer taxes – with the following policy changes: