National pundits just can’t get enough about the intramural fight between the Left and far-Left over Initiative 732, the carbon tax on the ballot next month. The latest to weigh in is Vox, which published a major piece last week, suggesting this year’s fight is actually a precursor to a much larger war among liberals about tax policy.
As Vox wrote, “Initiative 732, isn’t just any carbon tax, either. It’s a big one. It would be the first carbon tax in the US, the biggest in North America, and one of the most ambitious in the world. That turns out to be a complex and ill-fated story, revealing divisions among climate hawks — over who pays, who benefits, and who decides — that will not long stay confined to the West Coast. The future of climate politics is playing out in Washington state, and it is not pretty.”
Evidently Washington State gets a front row seat for this fight, and Vox walks through many of the tawdry details which Shift has been covering for months – from the far-Left’s attempt to bully (and buy) I-732 off the ballot last December, to budget analysts blowing the cover off the so-called ‘revenue neutrality’ of I-732.
Now, as the campaign enters its final month, the heat is getting turned up. Vox reminds readers that the chief architect of I-732 actually sees through the far-Left’s demands for even higher taxes on carbon as a smoke screen for buying votes, as it rehashes his NY Times quote that “the challenges on the left (are) an unyielding desire to tie everything to bigger government, and a willingness to use race and class as political weapons in order to pursue that desire.”
So that’s the fight folks – how high can we raise taxes, and how much can we grow government – all while claiming that we’re doing it for the environment. Just read on for how ugly it can get.
I-732 doesn’t raise taxes. Independent analysis has shown that it’s as revenue neutral a policy as anyone could design (see sightline.org). If you want to take action on climate change but don’t want to grow government, then I-732 is for you. It picks no winners or losers, and let’s the market decide on the best technology (including nuclear power) for reducing carbon emissions.
Sightline is an environmental watchdog outfit-by far an independent analysis. In fact, their analysis is quite predictable. This is how the left plays these opinions out: anything they have to do to make this initiative seem harmless ( i.e. it picks no winners and losers…). What a crock. This is a carbon tax that has not one iota of intent on helping the environment. It is simply another tax to throw into the general fund and put toward programs that don’t work. Nice try, the odor gave this one away!!!
OK, I get that it is to be revenue neutral, but Radio Randy is absolutely correct: there is no such thing as revenue neutral. And, in the carbon emission issue, from what I read, Sightline did not factor into its calculation the penalties that the Dept. of Ecology will impose on the “heavy carbon polluters”. So, we can call it a fine/fee/penalty-whatever you call it, it is a tax and that will be passed onto the taxpayers somewhere along the line.
Radio Randy says
A (carbon) tax that doesn’t raise taxes??? Why do they call it a tax, then? Revenue neutral??? How, exactly, does that work?
Name one, just one “revenue neutral” tax that politicians have ever created that didn’t increase government spending…I’ll wait.
Wow, no wonder liberals were so anxious to legalize pot…
Sorry to have made you wait, RR. I-732 reduces the sales tax by 1 percentage point, funds the working families tax credit, and eliminates B&O tax on manufacturing; ALL of the revenue is returned to the people and businesses in our state. I would imagine that fiscal consertatives would want to pass I-732 now instead of waiting for Inslee to get his cap-and-spend program through the legislature. Visit yeson732.org for details.
Radio Randy says
Well…first, I would have to believe in man-made climate change. Secondly, I would have to believe that taxing the Hell out of some businesses (and anyone who buys fuel in Washington) is, somehow, going to reverse it. I’m afraid neither is going to happen.
Now, the “working families credit” (likely known as the EIC) is given to working AND non-working families, alike. Hard working, middle income families, like mine, won’t see any of that money and will be contributing greatly through our gas taxes. Remember, also, that many “low income” families don’t have automobiles and won’t even see this cost.
Finally, even the state’s own fiscal experts can’t decide whether or not we might suffer over $800 million dollars in lost tax revenue, due to all the reductions 732 is proposed to make. Also, I believe all this carbon tax money will be going to the General Fund, rather than to distinct programs. Remember when the state lottery said proceeds would benefit schools? They do, if you consider the miniscule funding schools get out of the ton of money lotteries put directly into the General Fund account.
No…I’m not convinced and neither are many of the “fiscal conservatives” you mention. Even environmental groups don’t like it (but for a different reason).
Thanks for the info, just the same.
Let’s start off with a very basic concept about taxes: state revenue is the total taxes collected by the state, the state doesn’t get revenue any other way except through taxes. If you decrease state revenue that’s the same as decreasing taxes, if you increase state revenue that’s the same as increasing taxes. This is also what people refer to when they say the size of the government, the larger state revenue is the larger the government and the more taxes it collects. If you don’t understand how this works then nobody is going to take you seriously and you will end up looking like an idiot, kind of like the person who wrote this ridiculous article.
If you’d like to actually understand I-732 consider reading this piece by the chief economics adviser to George W. Bush and Mitt Romney, this guy has been writing the conservative economics platform for the last 20 years and is a self described libertarian, he’s also a Harvard professor.