The state of Washington is debating a ballot initiative that could institute the nation’s first “carbon tax” but many environmental activists are opposing the measure because it is written to be “revenue neutral.”
From The Seattle Times
“The citizens’ initiative covers most of the state’s climate pollution, makes the tax code more progressive, and is administratively elegant,” wrote Sightline’s Alan Durning and Kristin Eberhard.
But the state Democratic Party, along with most of the state’s major environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, Climate Solutions, and the Washington Environmental Council, do not support I-732.
Other groups that are focused on “climate justice” and community activism also do not endorse the measure. Instead, they have formed an alliance to work on an alternative proposal to price carbon that would generate new revenue to invest in clean energy and reduce pollution in low-income communities.
A tax disincentivizing the use of fossil fuels would seem to be something environmentalists would support. It appears that they are willing to sacrifice winning that part of their agenda if it isn’t coupled with net tax hikes and more government control.
The man who authored the initiative did not expect the opposition. Fox News reports:
Yoram Bauman, who authored Initiative 732 and generally sides with environmental groups that have claimed for years that greenhouse gasses are responsible for climate change, now says he’s shocked at the pushback he’s facing from these same organizations.
“Putting a price on carbon is the single most important thing we can do to tackle climate change,” Bauman told Fox News.
The turn of events has highlighted a curious aspect of the environmentalist coalition in the region: as much as these groups want to fight carbon emissions, they also want to make sure the money from any carbon tax is used primarily to boost the government’s clean-energy programs.
Bauman says that he designed the legislation to be revenue neutral because his goal was to reduce carbon emissions, not increase the size of government. It would appear that increasing the size and power of government is a key part of the environmentalist agenda in the evergreen state.
Read the full text of Initiative 732: