Campaign News

Washington lawmakers recognize that the urgent need to take action on climate change is of utmost importance and endorse I-732.

State Rep (D-43rd, Seattle) and CD-7 Candidate Brady Walkinshaw joins environmental colleagues, State Sen. Cyrus Habib, State Rep. Jessyn Farrell, and State Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon in endorsing I-732. Brady announced his endorsement of I-732 at a climate forum in Seattle. “Our need for climate action is urgent,” he said. “I-732 is our immediate opportunity to take a step forward and price carbon today.” 

Candidate for State Rep (D-43rd) Dan Shih said he supports for two primary reasons. “First, a carbon tax is an amazingly simple and effective way to reduce carbon pollution,” he said. “Second, by reducing the sales tax and funding the Working Family Tax Rebate, I-732 provides tax relief to all and very significant benefits for nearly half a million low-income households. It’s a progressive two-fer!”

State Rep Gael Tarleton (D-36th, Seattle) has also endorsed I-732.

The Seattle Green Party endorsed I-732 “by an overwhelming majority,” citing “the urgency of the climate crisis and our moral obligation towards the hard-hit global South.” According to their press release, “the Seattle Greens are especially sensitive to global environmental justice issues.” A carbon tax, they go on to say, “is meant to push consumers, institutions and the industry towards avoiding fossil fuels, while turning to renewables. The increases in price will be moderate at first, but go up continuously over the years, and will be noticeable and effective soon.” They also call out the benefits to citizens in the state, noting:

  • “The revenue from the carbon tax will not go to the state, but will be spent on lowering the sales tax and funding the Working Families Tax Rebate. Which might appeal to a whole different set of voters, giving the Initiative a good chance to succeed.”
  • “In the context of Washington’s notoriously regressive tax system, I-732 represents the most progressive tax reform since the sales tax exemption for groceries was enacted in 1978! If it works as intended, the Initiative will leave most low income families financially better off than before, while still lowering carbon emissions statewide. This might come as a surprise to those concerned with an unfair share of the burden.”
  • Washington already has played a leading role in state-by-state movements to break federal stalemates on gay marriage, marijuana legalization, and raising the minimum wage. Putting a price on carbon would again put Washington in the forefront of important societal change.

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Seattle Chapter, said in its endorsement, “I-732 is a credible and generally sound policy to put Washington state on a path to carbon reduction, and it is likely to be the only opportunity to implement carbon pricing for many years. The initiative has some weaknesses which the legislature may wish to address after it passes, but it represents a big step forward in our efforts to arrest climate change.”

The AIA Seattle said that its “professional responsibility requires us to advocate on legislative and economic mechanisms that make our projects part of the solution,” and notes the following benefits of I-732:

    • I 732 creates new demand for the unique skills architects bring to their projects.
    • Carbon pricing helps architects make a business case for energy efficient buildings.
    • Initiative 732 reduces the sales tax burden on construction costs.

Putting a price on carbon is the single most effective strategy our state can take to reduce carbon emissions. Much has been made of the shortcomings of I-732, in particular its projected impact on the state budget; its potential impact on people with low incomes and communities of color; and the use of funds generated by the tax.  While there is some merit to all of these concerns, credible research shows that their negative impacts have been significantly overstated.