Vote Yes On I-732 to Start Addressing Climate Change NOW

No piece of legislation is perfect, but this measure would be a huge first step toward finally grappling with global warming.

Few who care about climate change deny how urgent the crisis is; the question remains how we can most effectively tackle it. I-732 would tax the use of fossil fuels (for most, that’d mean a slightly higher price at the pump and home heating costs), then return that money to taxpayers in the form of cuts in sales taxes, business taxes, and an as-yet-unfunded state tax rebate for low-income working families. It is, in short, a “revenue-neutral” carbon tax, an economic concept that has worked to reduce emissions in Vancouver, B.C., and which is now being implemented across Canada. The major environmental groups that oppose I-732 say it does not do enough. It relies on market forces to drive down emissions, rather than using the money from a carbon tax to invest in renewable energy. It does little for the low-income communities of color most affected by carbon pollution and climate change. They also point to suspicions that I-732 could become revenue-negative, rather than revenue-neutral, and cost the state money in the end. These are legitimate concerns. But we believe, like the Sightline Institute, an environmental think tank that closely analyzed the measure, that I-732 is revenue-neutral, “to the best of anyone’s ability to forecast it.” And as for the measure’s effect on low-income communities, reducing the sales tax and funding an unfunded state tax credit is nothing to sneeze at. But the real reason we’re voting for I-732 is that we believe this is not an either/or decision. It is not the only way to combat climate change in this state, and it will not be the last. We understand the fear that passing a revenue-neutral carbon tax now could eliminate the political will to pass a revenue-positive one in the future. But Washington state has rarely had the political will to pass any kind of revenue-positive tax increase; neither has the legislature demonstrated the will to pass state climate policy. Sure, I-732 is a compromise. It’s also a way to do something—now.

Read the rest of Seattle Weekly’s endorsements for the 2016 general election here.

More in News & Comment

Rape Allegation Against Sen. Joe Fain Divides King County Council

In a recent interview, Councilmember Kathy Lambert blamed Fain’s accuser for the alleged rape. Then Lambert’s colleagues distanced themselves from her comments.

The Seattle City Council introduced legislation to approve the Seattle Police Officer Guild’s tentative agreement with the city on Oct. 15, 2018. Photo by Melissa Hellmann
Will Seattle’s Police Contract Stand the Test of Reforms?

The Seattle City Council introduced legislation to approve a long-awaited agreement, but not everyone seems satisfied.

Paul Allen, shown in 2015. Courtesy of the Herald
Paul Allen Dead at 65

Microsoft co-founder, developer, and philanthropist routinely struggled with cancer.

Le family attorneys Linda Tran and Jeff Campiche stand on either side of Tommy Le’s parents, Hoai Le and Dieu Ho, at the Dat Lat Quan Vietnamese restaurant in White Center on Oct. 14. Photo by Josh Kelety
‘We’re Not Going to Give Up’: Vietnamese Community Rallies for Tommy Le

Over a year after law enforcement fatally shot the 20-year-old Burien resident, family and community members remain galvanized to seek justice.

County Officials to Use Downtown Seattle Jail as Homeless Shelter

The facility will house between 125 and 150 people, allow for 24-hour access, and likely won’t require that individuals be sober to stay there.

State Supreme Court Strikes Down Death Penalty

All nine justices found the use of capital punishment in Washington state unconstitutional and racially biased.

Incarcerated and Infirmed: How Northwest Detention Center Is Failing Sick Inmates

Inadequate medical care plagues immigrants at the facility, but ICE claims otherwise.

Most Read