[4], As of March 2016, Washington was one of the 45 states that did not mandate reductions in greenhouse gas emissions at the state level. Instead, we support a policy that limits and reliably reduces carbon emissions. [28], As of January 12, 2017, the following were the top five donors in opposition to this initiative:[28]. School districts in Washington | [72], Alberta, another Canadian province, implemented a carbon tax in 2017. Other arguments in support of the measure included: Cliff Mass, Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington, Howard Behar, former President of Starbucks, Sharon Nelson, former Chairman of the Washington Utility Commission and Consumer Reports, former Senate Majority Leader Bill Finkbeiner (R), Rogers Weed, former Director of the Washington State Department of Commerce, and Ramez Naam wrote the argument in support of Initiative 732 found in the state's voter guide. This is on top of the recent gas tax increase of $.12 approved by the Washington State Legislature. In 2017, an eligible applicant would receive 15 percent of the federal earned income tax credit or $100, whichever is larger. I-732 changes that. I-732 puts a price on carbon pollution from fossil fuels like coal and oil, but not on clean energy like solar and wind. Revenue from the carbon tax is allocated to tax credits aiding low-income households and individual and business tax cuts. Initiative Measure No. The Sierra Club is grappling with a backlash from Washington state members over a decision to withhold support for Initiative 732, the carbon-tax measure on the November ballot. American Exploration and Mining Association, Industrial Customers of Northwest Utilities, Washington State Council of Farmer Cooperatives, Aerospace Machinists Industrial District Lodge 751, Certified Electrical Workers of Washington. Washington families and kids deserve a safe environment with clean air and water and healthy forests. [56] The top donor in opposition to this initiative, Kaiser Aluminum, provided approximately 32 percent of the campaign's total funds. Washington is already starting to reduce carbon emissions. [10], Top Contributors: Peter Kelly, Menno van Wyk, David Thacher, Howard Behar, and Kate Pflaumer, Yoram Bauman, an environmental advocate with a Ph.D in economics, was the founder of Carbon Washington. Light trucks are pickup trucks, some sport utility vehicles, or minivans of up to 8,500 pounds used primarily for the transportation of people and cargo. 2021 legislative session | The reports would be submitted every year from 2017 through 2027, and every two years after that. And no, it doesn’t do everything. In November 2016, Washington State voters were presented with a ballot initiative (Initiative 732) advancing the first carbon tax on production and use of fossil fuels in the United States. Groups taking this position include Climate Solutions, the Washington Environmental Council, 350 Seattle, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and the Sierra Club. [56], As of January 12, 2017, the following were the top five donors in support of this initiative:[56], The following ballot question committees registered to oppose this initiative as of January 12, 2017. Other organizations opposing the initiative included: Other unions opposing the initiative included: No on 732, sponsored by the Association of Washington Business, argued the following:[34]. In 2009, 32 percent did. [8], As of January 12, 2017, the support campaign for Initiative 732 featured two ballot question committees, Carbon Washington and Audubon Washington, that received a total of $3,154,984.98 in contributions. Sponsors of the measure hired Your Choice Petitions, LLC to collect signatures for the petition to qualify this measure for the ballot. Initiative 732 would increase taxes on carbon-based energy while cutting sales and business taxes to provide an incentive to reduce Washington’s carbon emissions without raising the general tax burden. Between 1990 and 2011, Washington's emissions fluctuated, beginning at 71 million metric tons of CO2 emitted in 1990 before peaking in 1999 and 2000 at 81 million metric tons of CO2. Inslee took these steps to enforce caps on greenhouse gas emissions after other proposals stalled in the Washington State Senate, which was controlled by Republicans at the time. | Initiative 732 in Washington was a landmark attempt to address climate change and was expected to raise $2 billion annually through higher prices for gasoline and fossil fuel-fired electricity. The Working Families Tax Exemption Program would be funded. Most manufacturing businesses are taxed at a rate of 0.484 percent of their gross income, but some manufacturers pay lower rates. I-732 would cut sales and business taxes commensurate with a tax on carbon pollution in a revenue-neutral approach to attacking the single largest cause of climate warming. Washington Initiative 732 would have, like the British Columbia carbon tax, impose a steadily rising tax on carbon emissions, while offsetting the state's sales tax and business tax, while expanding the state's tax credit for low-income families. Initiative 732 would not provide needed clean energy investment. Taxes. Limiting global temperature rise and its associated consequences will require international action to control emissions. (To get a sense of the landscape, please read the introduction to the first article in this series.) The initiative contains an increase in the Working Families Tax Exemption for low-income communities and a cut to the regressive sales tax, but environmental justice communities have already rejected that idea as insufficient. Initiative 732 is a Simple Tax Swap I-732 will add a $25 per ton tax to polluting fossil fuels. These fuels include certain fuels used solely for agricultural purposes; fuel purchased for public transportation or by a private nonprofit transportation provider; fuel purchased by the Washington state ferry system for use in its ferries; and fuel purchased for school buses. State Senate | …, It is precisely because a revenue-neutral carbon tax isn't weighed down by so many ancillary social goals that it stands the best chance of appealing to people across the political spectrum.[8]. [67][68], In 2007, under then-Governor Christine Gregoire (D), Washington joined the Western Climate Initiative (WCI), originally a group of seven states and four Canadian provinces (as of 2016, California was the only U.S. state that remained in the WCI). The government must divert the revenue according to the wishes of specific interest groups. And it sends tax refunds to hundreds of thousands of working families. [69], Initiative 732 was modeled after British Columbia's carbon tax. Congressional delegation | The measure also requires reports to the Governor and Legislature on how the measure is affecting state revenues. The reality is that since 2010, B.C. To the extent that the people who modeled it predicted this, I’m not sure that those of us on the policy end of it really believed it." It would apply when fossil fuels are burned in Washington. He said:[21], The broader lesson for all of us—not just Washington State voters—is that climate policy is not the place to grind a political axe. Makes Polluters Pay. This measure would create a new tax and reduce certain existing taxes. Global temperature in 2015 was the highest on record and is likely to be exceeded this year. | Initiative 732 would lower the state’s regressive sales tax and increase tax credits to low-income working families. Lee also criticized how the carbon tax mostly decreased corporate income taxes to remain revenue-neutral. But I-732’s “Working Families Tax Exemption” provides less than half of this population with any relief from increased energy costs. The top donor to the "No" campaign was Kaiser Aluminum. She added:[44], Court Olson, a Sierra Club member, wanted the group to survey its members. Whether I-732 succeeds or fails, we hope that we can all work together to make sure that we unite behind ambitious and equitable carbon pricing as soon as possible. This results from implementing a new carbon tax, reducing the state retail sales tax rate by 1 percentage point and reducing certain manufacturing business and occupation taxes. 732). Election governance | In August 2016, Elway Poll released data showing 34 percent of respondents in support of and 37 percent opposed to Initiative 732. ... As atmosphere, ocean, and earth scientists we are deeply concerned about the consequences of man-made climate change. Olson was disappointed with the group's response, saying, "They essentially told me that they had been over and over this issue in many meetings, and they were not about to change." The Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki said of climate change that "[w]e're a giant car heading towards a brick wall and everyone’s arguing over where they’re going to sit." He claimed:[22], Rather than compromise, other climate activists have sought to oust their political opponents—usually Republicans. September 2016Sierra Club has adopted a Do Not Support position concerning Initiative 732, rather than Support, Neutral, or Oppose. [27], Contributors: Kaiser Aluminum, American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, Puget Sound Energy, Ash Grove Cement, and Koch Industries, The Association of Washington Business developed a ballot measure committee to sponsor the No on 732 campaign. [8], Shi-Ling Hsu, a professor specializing in environmental and natural resource law at Florida State University, responded to opponents' claims that Initiative 732 is not good for low-income households. 1-732, the carbon tax swap, is our state's effort. A new climate change initiative will likely be on the ballot this fall, I-732 aims to tackle carbon emissions and it’s bad policy for Cowlitz County and the state of Washington. The business and occupation tax rate varies by the type of business or occupation. Voting in Washington | The WFTC is based on calendar years, not fiscal years. 735 concerns a proposed amendment to the federal constitution. The WCI had agreed to design and implement voluntarily a cap-and-trade system. Second, it risks turning climate change into a one-party issue. Voters in Washington State rejected a controversial ballot initiative Tuesday that would have created the country’s first tax on carbon, a critical tool to combat global warming. Initiative 732 would place an initial $25 fee per metric ton on carbon dioxide emissions. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is tasked with issuing regulations for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to deal with climate change. The tax would have been phased in more slowly for farmers and nonprofit transportation providers. The law also mandated that Washington's Department of Ecology require greenhouse gas emissions information for specific large facilities and fuel suppliers if they release at least 10,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases each year in the state. YouGov conducted a poll in mid-October 2016 and found 51 percent of respondents supporting Initiative 732. I-732 would exempt "[fuel] intended for export outside the state" from the carbon tax. A Department of Revenue analysis found I-732 will cut funding available for education, health care, and other vital services by $797 million over the next six years. Burning fossil fuels (such as coal, oil, and natural gas) produces carbon dioxide, which can trap heat in the Earth's atmosphere. [78], There were five petitions filed, and signatures were submitted for one (Initiative Measure No. The measure, called Initiative 732, isn’t just any carbon tax, either. View other Washington election results on our full Washington results page. Initiative 732 would have made Washington the first U.S. state with a carbon tax. We’re going to be on fire long before that… There was a point where I was crying about this. The state business and occupation tax rate for manufacturing would be reduced to 0.001 percent on July 1, 2017, from the current rate of 0.484 percent for most manufacturers. Sales tax revenue for the state Performance Audits of Government Account would decrease by $8.9 million. A new carbon emission tax would start July 1, 2017. [8], The group 350 Seattle rescinded their endorsement of Initiative 732, stating:[41], This was not an easy process for us, and was under discussion for a long time. Their argument was as follows:[9]. Campaign finance requirements | Washington ultimately withdrew from the WCI under Governor Gregoire (D) in 2011, along with Arizona, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, and Utah. Eastern Washington resident Robin Priddy tells Think Progress why she supports the measure. The Washington Office of Financial Management (OFM) contested the idea that Initiative 732 would be revenue-neutral and argued it would be revenue-negative. Municipal Courts, Budget and finances | Taking this into account would reduce the OFM's estimate of a $421 million cost in 2018 to a $157.7 million cost. To read Ballotpedia's methodology for covering ballot measure campaign finance information, click here. All unspecified power becoming specified by 2018 is unlikely. We have a moral obligation to leave our kids a healthier, cleaner Washington! Their argument was as follows:[9]. [79], The legislature did not act on the initiative, which meant that, for Initiatives to the Legislature in Washington, the measure made the ballot for November 8, 2016.[80]. Yet, unlike the gas tax, the carbon tax gas price increase does not put any money back into relieving our congested highways and bridges or provide new transit options. [But] if we wait for perfection. It was no surprise that the fossil fuel industry worked hard to defeat Initiative 732 (I-732). Because the plan would recycle the revenue it raised, none would be left over for “investments” that activists favor. At a time when we are struggling to maintain good jobs and fund basic services, I-732 would send Washington in the wrong direction. Together, these states accounted for 0.32 percent of the nation's carbon dioxide emissions, 0.54 percent of the nation's sulfur dioxide emissions, and 0.55 percent of the nation's nitrogen dioxide emissions from power plants in 2012. If certified, initiatives are sent to the Washington House of Representatives and Washington State Senate for consideration. ★ Initiative 732: Add an external link to your content for free. Prior to the election, polls indicated that support for the measure was around 42 percent and opposition around 37 percent, leaving 21 percent undecided. There is no state tax on carbon dioxide emissions in Washington. Supporters claimed 40 percent of respondents, while opponents claimed 32 percent. Ballotpedia features 319,543 encyclopedic articles written and curated by our professional staff of editors, writers, and researchers. What a carbon tax can do is help us adapt. Some took the position to neither endorse or fight the measure. 732 concerns taxes. It uses revenues from a carbon pollution fee to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy and invests in infrastructure for clean, abundant water and healthy forests that can stand up to the adverse impacts of climate change, while simultaneously assisting the most vulnerable workers and communities during our transition away from fossil fuels. OFM is wrong to conclude that sellers of unspecified power would identify all of their power sources by 2018. The data for the results on this site are reported by the Associated Press through the week of Nov. 8, 2016. Ballotpedia does not curate or endorse these articles. Healthcare | 14 House Bill 2768. No, [I-732] is not perfect. Carbon Washington, sponsor of Initiative 732, claimed the measure would be “revenue-neutral” or a “tax swap,” meaning sources of old revenue are swapped for sources of new revenue. In October 2016, Elway Poll surveyed 502 registered voters. [74][75] Carbon Washington issued a response. Click here to contact us for media inquiries, and please donate here to support our continued expansion. An additional $112.3 in revenue would be generated relative to the OFM's estimates. Enthusiastic grassroots climate activists across the state gathered more than 300,000 signatures to get I-732 on the ballot. Washington would have been the first state to place a tax on carbon emissions. But they are not defending the perfect. In 2016, a group of climate activists put an initiative for a revenue-neutral carbon tax on the November ballot in Washington State. Initiative 732 would phase in the new tax at $25 a ton to start, reaching that price at the end of its first two years in 2018. In other words, softening the blow for the poor and middle class is not enough. [4], Initiative 732 would have established a tax on carbon emissions at $15 per metric ton of emissions in July 2017, $25 in July 2018, and then 3.5 percent plus inflation each year until the tax reaches $100 per metric ton. [28], As of January 12, 2017, the ballot question committees registered to oppose this initiative received in-kind donations in the amount of $14,545.71. While a carbon tax makes emissions caps and subsidies redundant, it can also complement them by nudging consumers in the same direction. Superior Courts | Court of Appeals | Should this measure be enacted into law? Note from Alan: As I explained previously, Washington’s Initiative 732 has divided climate hawks so deeply that even writing about it is a task we undertake with trepidation. The sales tax is imposed on retail sales of most articles of personal property, digital products, and some services. On July 1, 2017, the state sales tax rate would be reduced from 6.5 percent to 6.0 percent. The people of Washington state have the opportunity this November to vote on a state-wide carbon tax. Initiative 732 would cause cause household electricity costs to increase. Public pensions | Vote NO. It can raise much-needed resources for clean energy research and development and transit; it can help us invest in communities that will be the hardest hit by climate impacts. The province's environmental minister, Mary Polak, said, "It performed better on all fronts than I think any of us expected. Elements of the coalition that environmentalists have assembled want “green jobs” programs, initiatives aimed specifically at communities of color, infrastructure that labor unions favor, and so forth. It accelerates the shift to clean energy like solar, wind, and hydropower. While many interrelated social and environmental needs demand our attention, complex problems are best solved one step at a time. The top donor to the "Yes" campaign was entrepreneur Peter Kelly. if(document.getElementsByClassName("reference").length==0) if(document.getElementById('Footnotes')!==null) document.getElementById('Footnotes').parentNode.style.display = 'none'; Communications: Kristen Vonasek • Kayla Harris • Megan Brown • Mary Dunne • Sarah Groat • Heidi Jung It makes Washington’s taxes fairer as it makes our state cleaner. That exemption would allow low-income taxpayers (those who qualify for the federal earned income tax credit) to receive a refund for some of the state sales taxes they paid during the year. About 68 percent would be identified by 2018 and 86 percent by 2020. Advisory Votes . Certain industries that obtain electricity generated outside Washington also may be required to pay the tax. Calculations show that unchecked greenhouse gas emissions put us on course for a climate far outside human experience. These communities will need investments and jobs to make an equitable transition to a forward-thinking clean-energy economy. I-732 alleviates its effects on the poor in two ways: it lowers Washington’s regressive sales tax by one percent, and provides a match of up to $1500 of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit for low-income working families. The sales tax base would increase. Initiative 732 would not provide needed investments and jobs in vulnerable communities. Immigration | The duo said:[32], I-732 is not revenue neutral and dangerously pits climate activism against funding for education and basic human services. 1 (3) The proceeds of the carbon pollution tax are not intended to 2 be used for highway purposes and must be deposited into the state 3 general fund pursuant to RCW 82.32.380. [8], Over 50 professors at the University of Washington signed a letter in support of Initiative 732. External Relations: Alison Prange • Sara Key • Kari Berger Washington's nitrogen dioxide emissions were higher than Oregon's, but fewer than Alaska's. [8], Rich Stolz and De’Sean Quinn of OneAmerica criticized the initiative as not compatible with "climate justice." 732 concerns taxes. If the movement cannot accept economically sound policy that would help solve the fundamental problem, there is something deeply wrong with the movement. But the measure was also opposed by several progressive advocacy groups and even environmental groups.In the end, the measure received only 42 percent of the vote. The following is an excerpt from the statement:[39], For these very important reasons Climate Solutions cannot support I 732. The measure includes provisions to avoid double-taxing a fuel. And that is a tragedy. Protects Working Families. Meanwhile, Washington's sulfur dioxide emissions from power plants were much higher than Alaska's and somewhat higher than Oregon's. The measure, Initiative 732, seemed doomed to fail ― even in the Pacific Northwest, where skepticism about humans’ role in climate change is less pervasive . The carbon tax would be applied to exported power. Supporters present represented groups including Carbon Washington (the organization behind the initiative), Carbon Thurston, the League of Women Voters of Washington, Olympia for Confronting the Climate Crisis, and Unitarian Universalist Voices for Justice.. Those present to voice criticism of I-732 represented organizations including Ash Grove Cement Company, Association of Washington … It is an absolute tragedy." The legislature chooses whether to enact the measure, send it to the 2016 ballot alone, or send it to the ballot alongside an alternative proposition. [65], In March 2016, the department withdrew its proposal for a mandatory emissions cap. INITIATIVE 732 p. 1 INITIATIVE 732. Vulnerable families in communities near pollution hot spots and workers in energy intensive industries are hardest hit by pollution. [70], The economic impacts have been negligible according to the Carbon Tax Center and economists at Duke University and the University of Ottawa. The rate would increase in 5 percent increments every two years after that until July 1, 2055, when it would be the same as the carbon emission tax rate imposed on other fuels. It’s a big one. The support campaign had spent $3,183,387.43, more than the amount raised due to using loans. State economists estimate that I-732 will reduce state revenue by $800 million. I-732 doesn’t do any of this. Revenue from this source would be $40.5 million per year. Climate extremes are becoming more intense: heat waves, droughts and fires on one hand, and more extreme rainfall, floods and storms on the other. [63][64], In July 2015, Governor Jay Inslee (D) directed the state's Department of Ecology to consider a mandatory cap on greenhouse gas emissions in the state in order to achieve the legislature's goals passed in 2008. The letter was as follows:[18]. This initiative allows teachers and other school district employees to receive cost-of-living salary adjustments. About 30 percent were undecided on the measure. Collectively, Trump won these Pivot Counties by more than 580,000 votes. Each Washington department was required to submit a greenhouse gas reduction plan for approval by the state legislature before December 2008. Climate justice. power was absent from their analysis pollution from fossil washington initiative 732 income. 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