The coalition which stands behind a so-called “revenue neutral” carbon tax as the best solution for Washington State to reduce emissions – one which will raise energy prices for consumers everywhere – claims it now has the signatures to submit an initiative to the legislature which could force the issue before the voters in 2016
Setting aside the debate of whether such a tax is good public policy, the interesting political question is will “green” governor Jay Inslee continue to fight against an initiative which doesn’t give him more money to spend on growing the size of government for his friends?
Initiative 732 “would place a tax on fossil fuels and energy generated by them…In exchange for the carbon tax, which would likely be passed on to motorists at the gas pump and utility customers in their bills, the proposal calls for tax credits for low income families and a cut in the business and occupation tax on some manufacturing.”
While extreme environmentalists love the idea of raising taxes for their cause, they have been cool to the carbon tax initiative because it does not raise additional money for state government. Inslee, in talking about his junket to Paris to talk about his extreme green agenda, even indicated he was still trying to push his cap-and-tax initiative onto the ballot instead of one which allegedly already has the signatures it needs: “I’m encouraging this initiative process, and there are talks going on as we speak, of what may end up on the ballot,” Inslee said.
Of course, Inslee will be on the same 2016 ballot as whatever initiative ends up going forward. So whether he stands with higher taxes and bigger government, instead of just higher taxes, might matter to voters.
One group is campaigning for a measure, which could go to the Legislature next year, that would impose a revenue-neutral tax on carbon emissions.
Another group plans next year to file a voter initiative that is expected to more closely resemble the cap-and-trade proposal that Inslee couldn’t get through the last legislative session.
More than 80,000 extra signatures is usually enough to guarantee certification. If that happens, the proposal would go to the Legislature in January, which has the option of passing it as is; rejecting or ignoring it, which would put it on the November ballot; or passing an alternative, which would put both the original and the alternative on the November ballot.
Despite calls from Gov. Jay Inslee to adopt a carbon emissions tax as a way to fight global climate change, lawmakers of both parties have ignored legislative bills calling for such a change.