Hello carbon tax friends: It’s going to be a big year for carbon pricing, and we’re excited to have your help pushing forward!
On Dec 30 we turned in our last batch of signatures, bringing our total to 362,079 signatures! That should be more than enough to produce the 246,372 valid signatures needed to qualify I-732—heck, it should be enough to put us in the Top 10 signature counts of all time—but we will wait to hear from the Secretary of State’s office. (Our belief is that everyone will proceed on the assumption that I-732 will have enough signatures to qualify—the Secretary of State’s office has already given it “provisional certification”—but it will take a few weeks for them to check a 3% sample and then if necessary check every single signature line.) Also… stay tuned for one final 250 Club update. Great work everyone!!!
The first day of the legislative session is this Monday, Jan. 11, which means the time to write your legislators is now. While the conventional wisdom is that initiatives to the legislature face an uphill battle, we think we have a chance to either pass our plan out-right or at least generate some great momentum going into our ballot push. (Besides, we have never been real big on conventional wisdom!) *PLEASE* either mail your letter to CarbonWA for us to deliver (PO BOX 85565, Seattle WA, 98145) or email a scanned copy of it to Kyle@CarbonWA.org. We are keeping track of our letter writing push to ensure every legislator gets contacted, and we want to generate over 200 letters, so please spread the word and please get your letters to Kyle by early next week if possible. Here is an optional template you can print out and use. If needed, you can look up your legislators here, and if you want more tips, examples, or information about writing your legislator we have a blog post you can find right here: CarbonWA tips for writing your legislators. (Update: The following districts have new legislators this year who may not be on the lists above: 9th District [Ritzville, Pullman, etc.] please add Rep. Mary Dye, email@example.com, replacing Susan Fagan; 19th District [Longbeach, Longview, etc.] please add Rep. JD Rossetti, firstname.lastname@example.org, replacing Brian Hatfield, with Rep. Dean Takko now in the Senate; 30th District [Milton, Algona, etc.] please add Rep. Teri Hickel, email@example.com, replacing Rep. Carol Gregory; 36th District [Ballard, West Seattle, etc.] please add Rep. Noel Frame, firstname.lastname@example.org, replacing Jeanne Kohl-Welles, with Rep. Reuven Carlyle now in the Senate; 48th District [Redmond, Clyde Hill, etc.] please add Rep. Lisa Kuderer, email@example.com, replacing Ross Hunter.)
We are delighted to announce an endorsement of I-732 from Jigar Shah, a nationally respected renewable energy business leader: “Putting a solid price on carbon pollution, as Carbon Washington’s I-732 does, would massively accelerate the shift to clean energy.” says Shah, the Co-Founder and President of Generate Capital. He previously founded and was the first CEO of the pioneering solar services company SunEdison, as well as first CEO of the Carbon War Room.
There were a ton of media stories about I-732, but our favorites are two TV stories (KIRO-TV, “Carbon tax initiative may cost and save”, and KING-TV, “Carbon initiative aims to raise and cut taxes”), two terrific editorials (The Olympian, “Carbon tax may well be in our future”, and a national boost from Bloomberg View, “The right way to tax carbon”, which was reprinted in the Oregonian, the Yakima Herald-Republic, the Everett Herald, the Portland Press Herald of Portland ME, the Star Tribune of Minneapolis MN, and the Tampa Tribune of Tampa FL), and our own op-ed in The Bellingham Business Journal: “I-732 could reduce CO2 emissions without new regulations”.
To complete the list here are more media stories: Maple Valley Reporter, “I-732, I-735 sponsors turn in signatures”; KOMO-TV (Story ran on 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. news on Dec 30, but is not posted on the web); The Herald, “Verbal fisticuffs erupt over how to deal with climate change”, reprinted in the Bothell-Kenmore Reporter and The Daily World and The Bainbridge Island Review); The Seattle Times, “Backers of initiatives say they’ve got enough signatures for ballot”, Seattle Globalist, “I-732 group submits signatures; critics say measure fails to do enough” (also “I-732 kowtows polluters, disrespects communities of color (Opinion)”; KUOW, “Carbon Tax Moves Closer To Washington Ballot”; Seattle Weekly, “A Steep Road to Victory for Carbon Tax Initiative”; KIRO-Radio, “Rantz questions whether Washington carbon tax will actually spur change”, Business Examiner, “Group submitting signatures for carbon tax initiative”; Mercer Island Reporter, “Decision could avert dueling carbon measures in 2016”; KAFE 104.1FM, “‘Carbon Washington’ looks to set worldwide example for climate action”, also on KGMI 790AM; Law360, “Washington Carbon Tax Initiative Moves To Legislature”; Capital Press, “Climate-change activists put heat on Washington Legislature”; and the Tacoma News Tribune, “Matt Driscoll: Unlocking carbon gridlock in Washington a matter of inclusion, not exclusion”. And for those who are keeping count, we were on the front page of the local section of the Seattle Times three times at the end of December: “Backers of I-732 measure may scuttle revenue-neutral approach in favor of new carbon fee proposal” on Dec 23, “Carbon Washington’s Initiative 732 is a go after all” on Dec 24, and “‘Revenue neutral’ carbon-tax initiative could cost state $675 million” on Dec 29 (reprinted in the Olympian and the News Tribune).
At the end of November we posted an update on revenue-neutrality, the bottom line being that we were still working on the details but that our current analysis was that I-732 will (as intended) be very close to revenue-neutral. Then last week (on Dec 29, the day before we turned in our signatures) came an alternative perspective from a preliminary assessment done by House Finance Committee staff: “‘Revenue neutral’ carbon-tax initiative could cost state $675 million”. The details of this analysis have not been made public, but we do have this Word document and this spreadsheet, and we know that it differs from our analysis on a number of technical fronts. (To take just one example, there is a disagreement about whether the Working Families Rebate for fiscal year 2018 should be 15% or 25%, and the difference amounts to $104 million; see this 2-pager for more details.) In the weeks ahead a more detailed Fiscal Note analysis will come from the Office of Financial Management, and we look forward to sharing our knowledge with OFM. And of course we will keep you in the loop!
Talk to your friends and neighbors about I-732