I'm pro-carbon tax, but this measure is facing two big hurdles... 1) big oil's cash and 2) it's regressive nature. The first one is just a hurdle that has to be overcome no matter what. The 2nd one is the bigger problem, IMO, and why I think it's really really hard to make any substantive progress on this issue. As a society, we've been pushing wealth and wages up to the bosses and taxes down onto the people for the past 40 years. The Democrats aren't trying to solve that problem, so they keep coming up with regressive taxes to solve other problems. People don't have the money. Hence, our continuous rightward drift no matter who is in charge.
Well, Big Oil and my vote against it.
@1 Agreed. Carbon taxes are necessary to finally push energy industries, but I don't know why they had to add a gas tax as well. My guess would be so it's easier to sink
Washington State is responsible for about 1/1000th of a percent of World carbon emissions a year, if not less. This doesn't even stop emissions, it just taxes them. It's regressive, especially to the poor. It's a shift of money from the poor to Government. The poor who must drive to more than one job per day, ups the cost of their utilities and even eventually all forms of transit. Your not making the oil companies pay, they transfer the extra cost to us. There is no transfer of wealth from the rich, they can effort it, just the poor who really pay through the nose.
@5 Sargon Bighorn: The REAL punishment is suffering and dying from severe health problems caused by exposure to carcinogenic fossil fuels under no federal regulations at all, with no medical coverage whatsoever to most of us because the for-profit wealthcare providers can claim "pre-existing conditions"; unbreathable air, and a dependance on bottled water because local tap water is irreparably poisoned by toxic waste. All this from Mein Trumpfy's evil agenda which he plans on making even worse. Just ask anyone in Flint, Michigan or about 300,000 West Virginians about their water quality.
I know I will be voting YES on I-1631. We in Washington State can do infinitely better than the the idiot RepubliKKKans in Washington, D.C.
@7, No, it only taxes emissions, not stop them.
@8 why do you hate market solutions based on price signaling?
The irony is that "big oil" didn't have to spend a penny. I 1631 would have been soundly defeated in any case. It is flawed from beginning to end. The carbon fee is too low to make a difference in people's behavior (I-732 started twice as high). The carbon fee is highly regressive, hurting poorer people the most. The billions of dollars that will be collected are not hardwired towards concrete environmental projects but will be distributed by an unelected board appointed by the governor. You can bet that most of the money will be wasted on "climate justice" programs and ineffective measures.
But worst of all, I-1631 pushed aside a far better approach: a revenue-neutral carbon tax that could have had bipartisan support and might have spread throughout the nation.
I-1631 will be soundly defeated, not because the oil companies are against it, but because the people of Washington State will recognize a wasteful and ineffective measure.
@7: Wow, so if Hillary had been elected we wouldn't have needed this bill. Good to know.
@9, The major disadvantage of the price system is that it prevents poor people from getting the things they need. Prices essentially ration goods on the basis of ability to pay.
Taxing carbon is absolutely the right approach to weaning us off of fossil fuels, but I don’t like the fact that there aren’t specific projects we are trying to fund with the new revenue. The “lead by example” argument only works if it’s a good example - if this new board doesn’t succeed in reducing emissions or does it at the expense of economic development in the state (or even if it does a great job, but looks government-y in the process), it will set the idea of carbon taxes back nationally. The fact that it makes up for its regressive nature with government assistance programs means the poor have to jump through extra hoops to defray the cost.
Why not first put a small excise tax on GVW above 4,000 pounds for gas-powered vehicles (i.e.: luxury cars, SUV’s, trucks) to identify the projects that will reduce emissions at the lowest cost and nail down the right funding mechanism? Heck, an excise tax on outsized private vehicles would be a progressive carbon tax that reduced emissions through a tried and true method (smaller cars) and reduce the cost of maintaining highways in the state at the same time. I know the good ol’ boys in Enumclaw won’t like it, ‘cuz trucks = America, but tough shit. You’ll thanks us when you can afford your child support because you aren’t throwing away bags of cash on a lifted F-150.
@10 - I politely ask you to fuck the fuck off. Imagine, Cliff Mass arguing on behalf of the status quo! Who would have thunk it? All that scientific objectivity basically boils down to: DON’T! NO! NOT THIS!
Seanat. Use of language says a lot about a person. And I have found through experience that the more a person uses expletives, the less they understand a topic and the less weight should be given to their opinions. But you are wrong to accuse me of the following the status quo...just the opposite...I am the revolutionary here. I 1631 represents status quo. A small fee that doesn't change things much, an ineffective use of funds, little progress towards addressing global warming, and highlighting of partisan divisions. Same old. I support a much larger, but revenue neutral carbon tax (returning all the money!) or the use of a carbon fee that is hardwired to doing the key tasks needed for climate resilience...such as repairing our forests, speeding up mass transit (say finishing the light rail system 10 years early), creating more reservoir capacity to ensure our region will have plenty of water, and supporting research on the implications of climate change on our region.
Expletives may make you feel good about yourself, but they are poor tools of communication. Something that many writers at the Stranger would be well advised to think about.
Clearly you're not a psychologist, since it appears you haven't been keeping up with current research on this very topic:
@15 - Expletives are a tool for conveying extremity of emotion. I used them honestly. That’s the only standard an anonymous cipher like me should be held to.
Like a lot of commenters on Slog, you are much more adept at saying what you are against than what you are for. In your case, that carries a huge opportunity cost, because everyone views you as The Scientist.
Anyway, what you seem to support is a larger, but revenue-neutral carbon tax aimed at adapting the state to the realities of climate change, rather than trying to prevent climate change (although emissions reductions might happen as a happy side effect). Fair?
That makes a lot of sense to me. Beat that drum. Fuck (pardon my language) I-1631. Opposition to it is a given/beside the point.
@15 - And thanks for replying. I was already leaning against I-1631. I feel more certain I will vote against it (assuming I am no longer under community auoervision by the date of the election).
auoervision = supervision. Need to srop drinking vodka before lunch. :S
I'm going to vote for it. If it loses, I'm going to vote for the next carbon tax proposal that comes up. And if that loses, I'm going to keep voting for carbon tax proposals until we finally force industry to stop adding carbon to the atmosphere. Political consensus develops as voters show their appetite for change. As to the $0.16/gallon that it's going to cost me- fuck it, if I don't want to pay it I can take the bus.
@20 - I also don’t care about the $.16/gallon - I will drive less (or not - $.16 doesn’t sound like much, and I’m bad at multiplication). I do care about bad policy. If votes were about conveying intent, we would have a citywide monorail three times over 10 years ago. If voting against something was all that mattered, all those bike lanes would have solved congestion.
At the risk of sounding like Paula Cowell or Randy Abdul, I was a yes on I-732, but I’m afraid I’m a no on 1631, dawg.
@11: Just keep munching your Cinnabons, sugarlips.
@20 The Scarlet E: I'm with you. Presently, my air cooled VW and I are doing what we can to leave as small of carbon footprints and tire tracks as possible.
@16 - Thanks for indirectly defending my intelligence! Anyone who reads my posts knows I know a lot about a lot of stuff, including climate trends. Expletives are merely some of the words I use. I have lots of other words, too! The best words! Big words! French words! I won’t be condescended to - I don’t care how many fancy initials the commenter can string after their name. PhD. MS. MA. MFA. I respect their degrees, even if all I have is BS, but I will not be dispossessed of the validity of my opinions. Not because all opinions matter, but because mine are better than most!
@22 - I generally love your comments, but we liberals have got to stop voting for policies that mean well, but suck, while sounding superior for doing next to nothing personally (does your air-cooled VW suck carbon out of the air? No? Then don’t break your arm patting yourself on the back.). We live in a country where the majority of the population believes “government = bad!” and that “personal initiative and cowboys = great!” If we are going to do good and avoid living in a national version of Kansas x Texas, our liberal policies have to work 10x better than the “no taxes, government out of everything but my uterus, driver big cars, yee haw” being offered by the assholes running this place. If for no other reason than to never hear some dipshit use the phrase “virtue signaling” again in my lifetime (and I’ve got at least another 100 years in me - sorry, trolls!).
@24 seanat: Whooooooaaaa! I agree with you on what appears to be a lot of issues. I don't drive my air cooled VW Beetle every day--and certainly not long commutes--because I am fully aware of the carbon emissions. I also walk or take public transportation (we live on a bus route). I have written letters, signed petitions, attended town hall meetings and donate to such environmental groups as The Sierra Club, National Resources Defense Council (DNRC), and locally REsources for what we can, as communities do to stand up against Big Oil and Big Coal. For that, I will pat myself on the back. You're welcome.
@24 seanet: Excuse the typo--make that National Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
And again, you're welcome.
@25, @26 - Sorry, that came off more acerbic than warranted. I have an edge. The point stands, though: we liberals need to create really good policy. I-1631 feels very much like a naive compromise, which is worse than nothing. We should fund a specific basket of projects with defined impact and create a funding mechanism that hits those who can best afford it (and has zero impact to 90% of the population). We need something centrists will cheer. That’s how you build support for progressive action, not creating an independent board that searches for stuff to fund and kicks back some regressive revenue through government programs - that builds more cynicism.
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