The self-described “revenue neutral” carbon tax Initiative 732 was certified this week. According to reports, it was a close call. Sponsors turned in 363,126 signatures (nearly 120,000 more than the required number of valid voter signatures). However, a 3 percent random sample revealed an “unusually high error rate” of 27.59 percent, above the average 18%, due to duplicate and invalid signatures.
I-732 will now make its way to the Legislature for consideration. State lawmakers will decide whether to pass it as is, and make it law, ignore it and thus let it go to the ballot in November, or send it and an alternative plan to the ballot.
Though I-732 bills itself as a “revenue neutral” tax that would produce $44 million in additional revenue, that’s not necessarily the case. Nonpartisan legislative staff produced an analysis that determined the scheme would actually cost the state $675 million over four years.
Interestingly enough, I-732 survived despite the best efforts of California billionaire Tom Steyer to ensure otherwise. Reportedly, the extreme “green” billionaire attempted to buy off key backers of the initiative. That’s because he prefers a more extreme, expensive scheme that will be pushed the (very inappropriately named) Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy. Unfortunately for Steyer and co., I-732 will now compete with anything they will push out.
This week, Democrat state Sen. Steve Hobbs joined the chorus of Democrat lawmakers pushing for a tax on carbon emissions. The Lake Stevens Democrat introduced a proposal to charge $8 per metric ton of carbon emissions. According to Hobbs, the proposal would cost $867 million over two years.
Then, of course, there’s Jay Inslee’s carbon reduction regulatory rules—rules he thinks he can impose on the state using executive authority. Under the new carbon rules, the industries deemed as “large emitters” would be required to reduce carbon emissions by 5 percent every three years. The so-called “Clean Air Rule”, would initially apply to about 24 manufacturing plants, refineries, power plants, and natural gas distributors. As the threshold is lowered over time, many more facilities would be covered by the rules.
Republican State Senator Doug Ericksen, the chairman of the Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee, has proposed a bill that would slow Jay Inslee’s attempt to jam through a carbon rule by executive action by “prohibiting state regulators from adopting rules that limit greenhouse gas emissions without legislative direction.” Ericksen’s bill, if passed, could keep Inslee from raising energy prices throughout the state by himself.
While these regulations would raise costs and negatively impact our state’s economic health, they would produce results that are virtually meaningless to carbon emission levels. Unfortunately, as Shift has pointed out, Democrats simply don’t care.
That’s because, in the end, extreme “green” policies are not about reducing carbon emissions. They are about even bigger government at the expense of taxpayers.