Liberals pushing Initiative 732 — the so-called “revenue-neutral” carbon tax initiative — claim it is a “green” policy that does not harm the economy and works to reduce carbon emissions. If voters respond positively to their claims, Washington State will become the first in the nation to impose a carbon tax.
1. Will a carbon tax cost Washington citizens more money?
Supporters say “no” because I-732 “lowers taxes on things we want more of (like jobs and purchasing power) and raises them on things we want less of (carbon emissions)…” But, that’s not actually true.
You see, that logic ignores the reality that businesses won’t just “shift to cleaner-energy sources,” when they can just pass the tax on to consumers. That, in turn, would negate the money saved by working families (if that statement is even close to true).
The claim also ignores the fact that, even if the carbon tax is revenue neutral (which the state’s own economists say it’s not), it would not be neutral for everyone. The scheme favors urban dwellers who perhaps “gradually would shift to cleaner-energy sources that don’t pollute.” It’s the folks in rural areas, agricultural businesses, etc. (those who can’t necessarily avoid higher transportation costs) who would bear the brunt of revenue shifts.
2. Has this approach worked elsewhere?
Supporters point to the alleged “highly effective” impact of the carbon tax in British Columbia. They claim that the “economy of British Columbia is doing as well if not better than Canada as a whole.”
Again, that’s just not true.
In fact, when considering the economic context, one could make a strong argument that the carbon tax has not led to success in B.C. According to the Prince George Citizen, British Columbia’s GDP has “increased from $203.9 billion to $219.9 billion since the carbon tax was introduced.”
That’s a 7.87% increase — which sounds great, until you look at how the rest of Canada performed.
During the same time period, Canada’s GDP has “increased from $1.6 trillion to $1.8 trillion or by 10.56 per cent.” Essentially, British Columbia is “weighing down Canada’s growth in GDP.”’
In 2005, B.C. “represented 12.35 per cent of the Canadian economy.” By 2012, after the carbon tax was implemented in 2008, “that number had dropped to 12.08 per cent.” The decrease may seem small, but it indicates that B.C.’s economy is “not growing as fast as the rest of the country in either absolute or relative terms.”
The reality is that a carbon tax has not helped British Columbia’s economy. Rather, the scheme has stagnated it.
3. Does I-732 negatively impact businesses?
Supporters claim that the “carbon tax will encourage companies to work harder to reduce their consumption of fossil fuels, and the sales tax reduction will encourage them to shift their purchases towards low-carbon goods.”
Of course, that statement assumes quite a lot.
You see, businesses also have the option of just packing up and moving shop. The simple reality is that businesses can just leave the state to avoid the tax — something that has already happened. In other words, I-732 provides incentives to do business elsewhere.
As Shift reported, Alcoa – the world’s third largest producer of aluminum—announced its intention to close factories in Ferndale and Wenatchee, resulting in thousands of lost jobs in anticipation of various “green” schemes. Ultimately, a carbon tax would erase a competitive advantage Washington State enjoys – low energy prices.
The far-Left knows it can only justify its extreme policies using far-fetched/misleading claims. Unfortunately, that’s the strategy the YES ON I-732 campaign has embraced.