Remember California billionaire Tom Steyer? Of course you do. The wealthy environmentalist is Gov. Jay Inslee’s best bud. He’s poured money into legislative races in our state, with disappointing (for him) results. He’s been called “the third most influential billionaire impacting national politics” and even considered running for the U.S. Senate in before getting signals that his interest was not much appreciated by fellow California liberals.
Steyer isn’t letting those disappointments and setbacks – or the fact that he’s not from Washington – stop him from cooking up new schemes to “improve” our state. Washington is a convenient guinea pig for his various experiments.
And so, his latest: a 2016 ballot initiative to impose a cap-and-trade system. Steyer gave $80,000 – no doubt just a down payment – to the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy. The Seattle Times described the Alliance as “a coalition of major environmental groups, unions and social-justice advocates [that] is working on an initiative that would impose new fees on carbon emissions from fossil fuels.”
Steyer is hoping that voters will go for cap-and-trade even though it can’t even pass the Democrat-controlled state House. Gov. Inslee’s cap-and-trade proposal never received a vote in the House earlier this year.
Not the only carbon initiative
Steyer’s cap-and-trade initiative will be in direct competition with the already-filed Initiative 732. That measure calls for a $25-per-ton carbon tax, but it would be offset by decreasing other taxes by an equal amount.
That’s where the two sides split. For the cap-and-trade backers supported by Steyer, more tax revenue for the government is a big part of the appeal. The Seattle Times explained the different approaches in July:
As a “revenue-neutral” plan, I-732 would not fill state government coffers with cash. While the carbon tax would raise an estimated $1.7 billion a year — and cost the average family an estimated $300 a year in higher gas and energy prices — it would give away an equivalent amount back to consumers, mostly through a full percentage point cut in the state sales tax.
That differs from cap-and-trade legislation offered up by Inslee and backed by the alliance in this year’s legislative session. That plan would have raised more than $1 billion a year from fees on carbon and directed the proceeds to the state education budget, transportation projects, affordable housing and other programs.
A carbon tax that doesn’t cost taxpayers a lot more and grow state government? No wonder cap-and-trade supporters hate it so much. Lucky for them, Steyer’s money will be there to help them spread the gospel of higher taxes to the masses. For us taxpayers, we’ll just have to hope that Steyer’s streak of electoral failure in Washington continues.
Can we ban this clown, maybe an indictment for past criminal activity?
These bastards always want to spend the citizens money on their pet projects.
A true crapitalist.