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Washington State Democratic Party takes position opposing CarbonWA’s I-732

Yesterday, during the middle day of its 2016 winter meeting, the Washington State Democratic Party went on record as opposed to CarbonWA’s I-732, joining the Washington State Labor Council and IAM’s District Lodge 751 in the no camp. I-732 is a complex tax swap proposal that would levy a carbon tax while also reducing sales and business & occupation taxes.

CarbonWA and other I-732 proponents contend that their tax swap is “revenue neutral” (meaning it would not increase or decrease state revenue). Nonpartisan legislative staff and the Department of Revenue don’t agree. According to DOR’s calculations, I-732 would reduce revenue by nearly $1 billion over the next four years. (That’s billion, with a b.) CarbonWA insists DOR’s analysis is erroneous, and that the initiative would ultimately be “approximately revenue neutral“.

But the Washington State Democratic Party has decided it doesn’t want to take a chance on I-732 and has formally come out against the measure.

The party’s State Central Committee, the WSDCC, considered dueling resolutions on the initiative this weekend. One was to take a position in support of I-732, and the other was to take a position in opposition. The latter received a “do pass” recommendation from the WSDCC’s Resolutions Committee and was subsequently adopted, while the former got a “no pass” recommendation and was rejected.

The WSDCC’s Resolutions Committee has the unenviable task of vetting and wordsmithing resolutions that go before the full Central Committee at its five regular meetings during each two-year cycle. (Full disclosure: I sit on the WSDCC as a voting member, but I am not on the WSDCC’s Resolutions Committee.)

The Committee heard from speakers in support of and opposition to I-732 prior to reaching its decision. In the end, the committee voted overwhelmingly for the resolution to take a position opposing I-732, a recommendation that was enthusiastically adopted by the full WSDCC a few hours later.

The Therefore, be it resolved clauses of the resolution state:

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Washington State Democratic Party go on record opposing I-732, and […] in support of a comprehensive policy to reduce carbon emissions and GHGs that creates a descending cap on emissions, prices carbon with the flexibility needed to prevent companies from wholesale leaving the state while at the same time helping them to become as carbon efficient as possible, provides equity to fossil fuel workers and communities of color, invests in climate adaptation and mitigation and leverages an accelerated development of the new clean energy economy; and

THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the State Democratic Party will work with labor, environment, communities of color, faith, public health and progressive business organizations to educate and organize around a comprehensive carbon and GHG reduction policy that can be introduced to the state legislature or to the ballot at the earliest possible opportunity.

We have outlined our own objections to I-732 here on the Cascadia Advocate on a number of occasions, notably last September, when we published this post by our President, Robert Cruickshank. We felt I-732 was fatally flawed even before the state published its analysis concluding that I-732 was actually revenue negative.

Whether the initiative is revenue negative or not, we think it’s poorly written. We do appreciate that proponents of I-732 are well-intentioned people who want to take action to address the climate crisis. However, we cannot support their approach.

Perplexingly, CarbonWA continues to try to sell I-732 to people by talking about following the “lead” of British Columbia, which is currently governed by one of the biggest groups of greenwashers in history: Christy Clark’s B.C. Liberals, who seemingly haven’t met a pipeline or fossil fuel terminal project they didn’t like.

British Columbia adopted a carbon tax years ago, but it has not been successful in keeping the province’s emissions in check.

In fact, British Columbia’s emissions have been going up, not down.

Leaders of CarbonWA have described support for their initiative as “bipartisan” and have said they crafted the initiative to appeal to voters across the ideological spectrum, but CarbonWA’s endorsements page doesn’t list a single organization affiliated with the Republican Party or active in the conservative movement.

And, as even CarbonWA has admitted, polling suggests right-leaning voters in Washington are incredibly hostile to the idea of levying a carbon tax.

To have even a prayer of winning, CarbonWA would need progressives and Democrats everywhere to unite behind I-732. But that is not happening, partly because CarbonWA’s proposal is poorly written, and partly because CarbonWA has been needlessly alienating progressives with ridiculous commentary like this:

[Yoram Bauman] is an environmental economist and stand-up comedian (yes, an unusual combo). He is also one of the leaders of the effort in Washington State to pass a carbon tax. He has been working tirelessly to build support.

Based on his experiences, he has a message for environmental activists: “I am increasingly convinced that the path to climate action is through the Republican Party. Yes, there are challenges on the right — skepticism about climate science and about tax reform — but those are surmountable with time and effort. The same cannot be said of the challenges on the left: 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.”

Yoram Bauman is a funny guy, but this time he is not joking.

If you’re wondering how CarbonWA’s efforts to reach out to Republicans are going, the answer is not well. As I mentioned already, they haven’t scored any endorsements from groups on the right. Republican legislators, meanwhile, have been openly disdainful of I-732 when asked about it by the press.

Doug Ericksen, who is a very good friend of Tim Eyman and all the oil companies operating in the state, trashes I-732 every chance he gets. For instance, here’s a KING5 story from last month about CarbonWA’s submission of signatures:

Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, considers the initiative an energy tax instead of a carbon tax.

Ericksen chairs the Senate’s energy committee.

He said the move would cause higher home heating bills and gas prices.

Bauman did his cause no favors when he agreed with Ericksen that gas prices would go up — even volunteering a figure! Here’s the next two lines of the story:

Bauman said the initiative could end up raising gas prices 25 cents a gallon.

Ericksen also thinks the initiative could end up hurting the environment by encouraging Washington businesses to relocate overseas in search of less restrictive pollution laws.

Yoram Bauman’s co-chair Joe Ryan, meanwhile, was recently quoted in a Washington State Wire profile saying that carbon taxes are regressive.

And no, I’m not making this up.

For Ryan, the middle-of the-road approach is the best way forward. His political ethos is a true rarity and one that he is eager to share. “I believe, and what I see in the world, is that people of diverse ideologies have truth to contribute. To exclude or scapegoat or demonize, frame them as scapegoats or enemies, you’re really losing part of the truth. And so it’s important to get the full truth,” he said.

Perhaps it’s his dedication to finding the whole truth that allows him to be so candid about some of the potential realities of a carbon tax often avoided by proponents of pricing carbon. Looking heavy-hearted, he admitted that there will likely be job losses in certain industries, coupled with gains in others. Without hesitation, he also said this: “Carbon taxes are regressive in terms of disproportionately impacting low income people. Our state tax system is already regressive so to make it more regressive is a concern for Carbon WA.” Lowering the sales tax, he says, reduces the overall regressiveness of Washington’s tax code.

Emphasis is mine.

If Ryan believes carbon taxes are regressive, why is he working to pass I-732? Why aren’t he and CarbonWA pushing for a cap and trade system instead?

Other states, like California, have already gone in that direction. And Washington voters are certainly open to the idea as well, as was evident from our research last year, when we asked the following question in a statewide poll:

Do you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose implementing a cap-and-trade system, where polluters would be charged a fee to reduce carbon dioxide emissions that would fund public schools and transportation projects?

These were the answers:

  • Support: 55%
    • 37% “strongly support” cap and trade
    • 18% “somewhat support” cap and trade
  • Oppose: 43%
    • 11% “somewhat oppose” cap and trade
    • 32% “strongly oppose” cap and trade
  • 2% answered “not sure” 

This question was part of a poll conducted by Public Policy Polling for NPI from September 18th to 21st, 2015, and surveyed 613 Washington voters likely to cast ballots in the November 2015 general election. The results have a margin of sampling error of +/- 4.0% at the 95% confidence level.

As this was a poll of likely 2015 voters, we believe it actually understated the true level of support for cap and trade among this year’s electorate, which is projected to be substantially larger than last year’s.

(2015 saw the worst voter turnout in Washington State history — at least since we began registering voters in the 1930s.)

Now, CarbonWA likes to tout this survey from G Squared Strategies, which in late 2014 asked four hundred likely voters (which I’ll point out is a smaller sample size than our poll from last year) the following question:

Would you favor or oppose the State of Washington imposing a carbon tax on carbon producing businesses if it also lowered the state sales tax by 1% and eliminated the current business and occupation taxes on Washington’s businesses, causing the new carbon tax to be revenue neutral?”

53.7% of respondents in that survey answered that they would be in favor, while 32.6% said they would be opposed. The poll had a margin of error of +/- 4.9%.

Those percentages aren’t terrible, but what are terrible are the percentages that come back when the actual I-732 ballot title has been tested. This is the question voters will see on their ballots starting in October:

Initiative Measure No. 732 concerns taxes.

This measure would impose a carbon emission tax on certain fossil fuels and fossil-fuel-generated electricity, reduce the sales tax by one percentage point and increase a low-income exemption, and reduce certain manufacturing taxes.

Should this measure be enacted into law? Yes [ ] No [ ]

Polling by the Alliance for Jobs & Clean Energy has found the response in favor of the I-732 ballot title to be just 39% — well under fifty percent. Yikes! The ballot title hasn’t performed much better in CarbonWA’s polling.

Keep in mind, this is where things stand for I-732 before the impact of the inevitable, well-funded No campaign.

Having worked for and against statewide initiatives for over a decade, we know a bad ballot title can be a major Achilles’ heel, just as a slick ballot title (the kind Tim Eyman always tries to wrangle for his initiatives) can be a big blessing.

CarbonWA claims that I-732 can pass in spite of its bad ballot title. We don’t see how, given that I-732 is so poorly written. The text doesn’t redeem the ballot title. You could argue I-732 deserves the lackluster ballot title that it got.

If that weren’t bad enough, the oil industry now has plenty of material to work with for whatever ads and P.R. it decides to finance. They have co-chair Bauman saying gas prices could rise twenty-five cents a gallon, and co-chair Ryan saying that carbon taxes are regressive and disproportionately impact low income people.

The folks at CarbonWA seem to be still feeling the glow of having qualified (narrowly). They may think they have a winner on their hands with I-732, but they seem to be about the only ones who think that.

Persuading people to sign a petition is one thing. Getting people to vote yes on an initiative is much harder. When in doubt, people usually vote no.

If Bauman and Ryan’s goal is to build a broad coalition to embrace the policy that they and their team have come up with, they’re already failing.


22 Comments

  1. Ramez Naam
    Posted January 31st, 2016 at 8:17 PM | Permalink

    I-732 makes the state tax code substantially more progressive.

    The quote by Joe Ryan was taken out of context. His point was that I-732 doesn’t just tax carbon: It also reduces some of the most regressive taxes in the state, and funds (and increases) the Working Families Tax Rebate. In conjunction, those two changes to the state tax code cut the effective tax rate on the bottom quintile of the state in more than half.

    See this explanatory figure on how I-732 makes the tax code more progressive:

    http://rameznaam.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Working-Families-Tax-Rebate-CarbonWA-With-Explanatory-Arrows.jpg

    I’m surprised to see that this isn’t understood in these quarters. I-732 is a massively progressive change to the state tax code.

    Finally, note that the fiscal analysis that found I-732 revenue contains some very clear errors. For instance, it gave I-732 zero credit for taxing the exports of electricity from Washington, even though I-732 quite clearly does this. More on the flaws in the fiscal analysis (some of them quite glaring), here:
    http://yeson732.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/OFM.0.160128.AllDocumentsPackage.pdf

    Ramez Naam
    CarbonWA Executive Committee Member

  2. Camila Thorndike
    Posted February 1st, 2016 at 6:36 PM | Permalink

    As a young, progressive, lifelong climate advocate, I find this post both morally unforgivable and economically illiterate.

    1. You are advocating against the only live, progressive, revenue-neutral carbon tax campaign in the country–in favor of an alternate policy that DOES NOT EXIST. We are minutes past midnight for a livable planet. How dare you destroy the unimaginably difficult, selfless work of countless volunteers with the dream of…you know, maybe not dying? And you do this, “because polling,” “because California,” and “because Tim EYMAN’s friend doesn’t like it”?! Thoughtful.

    2. You are ignorant of even the bare fundamentals of carbon pricing. You can price carbon through a tax or cap and trade. They have the same effect. And yes, they are BOTH regressive–without careful treatment of resulting revenues. Returning revenue to people can, instead, yield wildly progressive policy. I-732 succeeds in that by offsetting Washington’s regressive sales tax and funding the Working Families Tax Rebate.

    Thank you for insuring that I never again affiliate as a Democrat. Your party is failing my generation.

  3. Dan
    Posted February 1st, 2016 at 7:30 PM | Permalink

    Words cannot express my level of disappointment in Washington’s ostensibly progressive leadership. Here we have the *only* fighting chance at real, meaningful carbon pricing–orders of magnitude more meaningful than California’s AB32–a measure that would dramatically strike the heart of our country’s most regressive tax structure, brought into the realm of the possible only by the sacrifice of grassroots volunteers. Even if a better measure were available today (and the fact that it’s not is the responsibility of the groups that are actually moneyed enough to advance ballot initiatives) I should expect our Democratic party to support both bills.

    This is where cynicism comes from. Entrenched political operatives that oppose anything not coming from themselves. Go dig up your college diary and try to rationalize that your motivation for doing this work is remotely compatibility with your disgraceful Machiavellian brokering of our future. Decency demands that you immediately reverse your position on I-732, issue a formal apology, and dear god, somebody has got to resign. What kind of world will our children inherit if such a vile betrayal can exist with impunity?

  4. John D.R.
    Posted February 1st, 2016 at 8:33 PM | Permalink

    > If Ryan believes carbon taxes are regressive, why is he working to pass I-732? Why aren’t he and CarbonWA pushing for a cap and trade system instead?

    A carbon tax is regressive. So is a cap based system. They both fundamentally impose a price on carbon, resulting in higher fossil-fuel-based energy costs, which disproportionately impacts low income individuals.

    (The whole idea pricing carbon is to internalize the “true cost” of carbon [ocean acidification, extreme storms, wildfires], thus making carbon-intensive goods more expensive. It’s this price signal which incentivizes the transition to renewable energy, local food systems, and a carbon-zero future!)

    Again, since lower income folks use more of their incomes on energy and transportation, they will be disproportionately affected. Ergo, a carbon tax and a cap are regressive!

    The question then is, how do we use the carbon revenue to counter the inherent regressiveness of a price on carbon? How can we make it _progressive_ instead of regressive?

    C’mon, y’all. Ya gotta do better. That planet is frying, and you’re acting like we can sit this out.

  5. Michael Andersen
    Posted February 1st, 2016 at 10:44 PM | Permalink

    Definitely a good idea for Washington Democrats to come out against a viable statewide ballot measure to price carbon. Be sure to record this one in the diary for the grandkids.

  6. Thad Curtz
    Posted February 2nd, 2016 at 11:47 AM | Permalink

    Yeah… this is why the Allaince for Jobs and Clean Energy supported Governor Inslee’s first cap and trade proposal, which provided $143 million in support for low income communities compared to I-732’s $200 million, his second cap and trade proposal, which provided about half I-732’s support, and now supports having Ecology simply cap emissions and raise fossil fuel prices while providing zero support for low income communities.

    Though they haven’t yet announced it, email from the Alliance’s steering committee says they’ve now decided, once again, that they’re not going to run a carbon pricing initiative this time after all. Maybe the time will be right as far as they’re concerned in…??

  7. Steve Verhey
    Posted February 2nd, 2016 at 12:49 PM | Permalink

    Your characterization of both votes is incorrect.

    I wrote the pro-732 resolution, and spoke against the anti-732 resolution, and of course was in the room during the debate and vote.

    Both resolutions had been submitted the evening before, and committee members did not have hard copies of either of them. The anti-732 resolution was considered first, and members had to try to read it off the projection screen. It was 4 pages long, with a lot of superfluous whereases and several factually wrong whereases in addition to the toothless therefores. The committee did not read the resolution before passing it, and, having passed it, declared my pro-732 resolution moot. There was no attempt to read my resolution.

    The anti-732 resolution was written by state party Chair Jaxon Ravens. Having read it, I suggest you not throw stones about poorly written resolutions or initiatives.

    As near as I can tell, this resolution was an offering to Labor (the resolution mentions refinery workers a half-dozen times as examples of jobs that need saving) in hopes they will not abandon Governor Inslee after his highly unpopular tax breaks for Boeing.

  8. Andrew
    Posted February 2nd, 2016 at 1:06 PM | Permalink

    There was nothing incorrect about my characterization of the votes, Steve. Your comment adds more color and context to what happened in Lynnwood (which is perfectly fine), but you have not actually disputed what I wrote.

    I too was in the room when the I-732 resolutions were being discussed by the Resolutions Committee — I heard you speak, and witnessed your exchanges with committee members. I was sitting in the back with the other guests.

    The resolution the WSDCC approved is not the resolution I would have written. Whether its whereas and therefore be it resolved clauses are wholly accurate or soundly constructed or not, it is true that the Resolutions Committee had a discussion about I-732 and voted to give a “do pass” recommendation to the resolution taking a no position on I-732, then a “no pass” recommendation on your resolution, which the committee deemed moot.

    It is likewise the case that when the WSDCC voted on the resolution opposing I-732, there was pretty much no dissent. I was in the room when the WSDCC voted. You were not, as you yourself admitted. You stated later in a speech during the Good of the Order that you were not in the room because you had stepped out. So you didn’t witness the WSDCC’s vote.

  9. Steve Verhey
    Posted February 2nd, 2016 at 1:25 PM | Permalink

    I’m not going to take the time or space here to dispute what else you have written, though much could be disputed.

    The issue of the final vote is an interesting one. Someone who was in the room and intending to speak told me he missed the opportunity because the issue came and went so quickly. So I’m actually not sure whether I was in the room or not, and I am sure the Chair didn’t work very hard to receive comments.

    I agree with the other commenters that it was beyond disappointing for the party (those few who were actually aware of what they were doing) to have done this.

    Let’s do this: I admit that there are things about your position that I don’t understand. If you could admit that there are things about mine (and others expressed here), perhaps we could have an actual conversation.

    Meanwhile, NPI is a member of the Alliance. Could you please give us some insights into what happens next? What is their timeline? What will they do that will be better than what they are working so hard to derail, and enough better that the lost time will be worthwhile?

    For reference, here is the resolution. Climate change as political football.

  10. Ben Smith
    Posted February 2nd, 2016 at 1:33 PM | Permalink

    I think several of the comments on this post amply demonstrate that CarbonWA’s supporters just do not take criticism well. They are convinced of the righteousness of their plan. Woe to anyone who disagrees with them. They’ve criticized the Alliance for not putting anything concrete on the table. The Alliance deserves that criticism, certainly.

    But while they can dish out criticism, CarbonWA’s supporters can’t seem to take any. Too bad.

    I couldn’t agree more than we need to act on climate, and fast. But we also can’t afford to lose revenue. Our legislators are in contempt of court for not funding our schools.

    The Department of Revenue says I-732 would be revenue negative. CarbonWA says don’t listen to them, their math is wrong. OK… but what if CarbonWA’s math is also off?

    The way I see it, CarbonWA cannot guarantee revenue neutrality. They won’t be in charge of implementing their idea, they’re just the salesmen (and saleswomen) for it.

    I’m left to wonder why they didn’t try to intentionally make the initiative slightly revenue positive. I guess they were so intent on wanting to sell the public a “revenue neutral” plan that they failed to appreciate that it might be a good idea to err on the side of caution.

    Listen, CarbonWA supporters, you are not entitled to the support of Democratic, progressive, labor, and environmental organizations for your plan. You have to earn it. Your comments on this thread leave me feeling very doubtful of your ability to build a coalition to pass I-732 this fall.

  11. Steve Verhey
    Posted February 2nd, 2016 at 3:09 PM | Permalink

    No one can (or should) claim to guarantee revenue neutrality, and it’s notoriously difficult to calculate the effects of something like this. CarbonWA points out a set of errors made by the state analysis that are unfortunately rather arcane, but they make sense to me.

    You know, I wasn’t aware of this huge rift between the various factions until late December. I live in Eastern Washington, where only some of the news makes over the mountains to us, and I still don’t get why there’s so much sniping going on. This probably isn’t the place to explain it, but I wish I understood how it happened.

    Meanwhile, I’ll wait patiently for Andrew, or anyone, to answer my questions: What happens next? What is the Alliance’s timeline? What will they do that will be better than what they are working so hard to derail, and enough better that the lost time will be worthwhile?

  12. Rich Voget
    Posted February 2nd, 2016 at 11:00 PM | Permalink

    It is mathematically easy to guarantee revenue neutrality, but politically challenging. Just wait an appropriate amount of time (1 month?)for the late quarterly B&O and sales taxes to be collected. Then calculate the loss in tax revenue due to the Carbon WA reductions in the sales and B&O taxes. Compare that number to the amount of carbon tax collected that quarter. The remainder is what would be dispersed as the Working Families money. As the carbon tax revenue fluctuates from quarter to quarter, so would distributions to Working Families. And that would make it politically challenging because the people most in need wouldn’t have a stable source of funds.

    I am sure the Alliance won’t have an initiative on the November ballot because the polling shows that two separate initiatives on the same ballot would guarantee that both would fail. Big Oil would have a field day bashing both and totally confusing the undecided voters.

  13. Steve Verhey
    Posted February 3rd, 2016 at 7:15 AM | Permalink

    That’s a good point, Rich, although I’m not sure it’s possible to use even one’s expected Earned Income Tax Credit in financial planning, let alone the WFTR.

    Taking the time to read CarbonWA’s response to the state analysis (the third link at http://yeson732.org/lets-get-fiscal-2/) is something everyone with concerns over the revenue neutrality issue needs to do.

    Meanwhile, I’ll wait patiently for Andrew, or anyone, to answer my questions: What happens next? What is the Alliance’s timeline? What will they do that will be better than what they are working so hard to derail, and enough better that the lost time will be worthwhile?

  14. Larry Gussin
    Posted February 3rd, 2016 at 9:17 AM | Permalink

    IMO this state party decision adds its fair share to the total mess ongoing in the WA effort to get carbon pricing. I see it as a crash of two reckless trains. All we will have to show for it is blood.

    1. The many Whereas is this resolution wrap a moral and maybe existential responsibility to act locally on climate change in local issues of equity, overall tax policy, and ideas of a just transition, calling finally for a justice oversight board. It subsumes climate action in the progressive cause and creates a NIMBY template for climate action anywhere that does not bundle progressive requirements. It fails to accept the physics of climate change.

    2. If Andrew does not address Ramez’s (Comment 1) claims of misrepresentation he shows this is not a serious discussion of issues. IMO both Carbonwa and Alliance members have spun each other’s positions all through the fiasco. When is enough?

    3. Neither side has made public the compromise position the Alliance offered, which Carbonwa rejected on Dec 23. IMO this was the last chance to stay upright. The public has a right to see this document. We are at the bloody start of a global grass roots fight for carbon pricing, there is a lot to think through, we need to see the facts, not just the spin of the Alliance lead groups.

    4. For Carbonwa supporters like Thad and Steve, who opposed the compromise in December, it was clear then that state Dems and unions would oppose I-732. Now they have. Libertarians & Republicans shrug or laugh. Who will be in your coalition? Why did you reject the compromise bill for this fight, this year, here?

    5. Camilla (Comment 2), IMO the Wheras list requires study as well as blanket condemnation. Unless it is contested in detail, among progressives, won’t it block climate physics-oriented progressive climate action everywhere?

    Larry Gussin

  15. Andrew
    Posted February 3rd, 2016 at 11:12 AM | Permalink

    It seems that several of you who have commented simply didn’t take the trouble to carefully read the post. This is advocacy journalism, but even so, I stated CarbonWA’s position repeatedly, and linked to their website, so that anyone reading could see what they had to say.

    There are not one, not two, not three, but four links to posts and pages on CarbonWA’s website in this post. Anyone reading has the opportunity to click through and access their materials.

    The Alliance hasn’t decided what it is doing next. We’d like to see them go to the ballot with an alternative to I-732, but that may not happen.

  16. Robert Cruickshank
    Posted February 3rd, 2016 at 12:51 PM | Permalink

    I’ve fought to defend California’s cap-and-trade system from the oil company attempt to repeal it at the 2010 ballot. We smashed them. Now cap-and-trade is bringing in billions of dollars per year in revenue to help reduce CO2 emissions and build green infrastructure in the world’s 7th largest economy.

    We should be rallying behind a cap-and-trade proposal for WA. The Alliance made significant political mistakes here.

    But CarbonWA made even worse mistakes, both in the politics as well as in the actual policy. At a time when our schools are underfunded, cutting $1 billion from the state budget is unforgivable. Even if it were truly a “revenue-neutral” plan, that would itself be bad, because as I pointed out in my September 2015 post opposing I-732, many experts realize that we need revenue positive carbon pricing systems. Market mechanisms won’t reduce CO2, we need green infrastructure and thus we need the revenue to buy it.

    We all know that CarbonWA leaders can read polls. They know as well as we do that I-732 will go down in flames and set back the climate action movement in this state for years. Their decision to submit the signatures was reckless and damaging.

    Kudos to the Washington State Democratic Party, the Washington State Labor Council, and all the other groups that will soon be lining up to kill this bad idea.

  17. Larry Gussin
    Posted February 3rd, 2016 at 1:24 PM | Permalink

    I forgot to add in my comment (14) a reply to what Dan wrote in Comment 3. IMO it is very reasonable to advocate for the I-732 model over other carbon pricing models. But to term it “orders of magnitude more meaningful than California’s AB32” shows either ignorance of or disrespect for the hard-fought and hard-protected victory AB 32 represents. Read the NRDC and EDF evaluations. See how much of the CA economy it subjects to carbon pricing. Compare the extensive coalition they built to what we so far have here.

  18. Steve Verhey
    Posted February 3rd, 2016 at 3:51 PM | Permalink

    “Advocacy journalism.” That would be the problem, right there. We’re on Andrew’s blog, but I’m not going to single him out. He’s just one of too many who seem to be trying to win some kind of little game. If the base issue — climate change — weren’t so important, it’d all be good fun. What has happened is not fun.

    I wasn’t aware of the Alliance-CarbonWA trouble until about 5 weeks ago, and suddenly it risks crashing the only thing, and a good thing at that, Washington’s go going in the climate change department.

    CarbonWA has a face: Yoram Bauman. Someone told me in Lynnwood that “he’s an ass.” That hasn’t been my experience, but why even care? Who is the face of the Alliance — their puppetmaster, as it would seem? I have some words for that person.

    If I-732 is doomed to fail, why not support it, or just sit on your hands? By opposing it with all the shady tricks of “advocacy journalism” and back-room deals (and what happened in Lynnwood was a back-room deal), when history apportions blame for Washington bringing up the rear in climate action, the Alliance will get the lion’s share.

    I’ll continue to wait patiently for Andrew, or anyone, to answer my questions: What happens next? What is the Alliance’s timeline? What will they do that will be better than what they are working so hard to derail, and enough better that the lost time will be worthwhile?

  19. Andrew
    Posted February 3rd, 2016 at 4:12 PM | Permalink

    Politics isn’t a game to us, Steve. Here at the Cascadia Advocate (which is the voice of the Northwest Progressive Institute as a whole) we comment on current events and public policy. We’ve been doing it since March of 2004. And unlike other publications, we don’t pretend to be objective. The beauty of advocacy journalism is that you can see where somebody stands.

    We believe, as an organization, that CarbonWA’s approach is wrong, and we therefore cannot support I-732. NPI President Robert Cruickshank and I have explained, in detail on numerous occasions, why we have come to that conclusion.

    We don’t make decisions for the Alliance. These are the folks who do, and you should direct your questions to them.

    The Alliance for Jobs & Clean Energy Steering Committee

    • De’Sean Quinn | African American Community
    • Renee Klein | American Lung Association of the Mountain Pacific
    • Tony Lee | Asian Pacific Islander Coalition
    • Vlad Gutman | Climate Solutions
    • Aiko Schaefer, Communities of Color for Climate Justice
    • Rosalinda Guillen | Community to Community
    • Cheri Cornell | CoolMom
    • LeeAnne Beres | Earth Ministry/Washington Interfaith Power & Light
    • Mark Liffmann | Environmental Entrepreneurs
    • Jill Mangaliman | Got Green
    • Peter Bloch-Garcia | Latino Community Fund
    • Perry England | MacDonald-Miller
    • Nancy Hirsh | Northwest Energy Coalition
    • Rich Stolz | OneAmerica
    • Robby Stern | Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action
    • Rebecca Saldana | Puget Sound Sage
    • Kelly Hall | Renewable Northwest
    • Adam Glickman | SEIU 775
    • Bill Arthur | Sierra Club
    • Rob Johnson | Transportation Choices Coalition
    • Daryl Williams | Tulalip Tribe
    • Jason Barbose | Union of Concerned Scientists
    • Sarah Cherin |UFCW 21
    • Brenna Davis | Washington Businesses for Climate Action
    • Mauricio Ayon | Washington Community Action Network
    • Shannon Murphy | Washington Conservation Voters
    • Becky Kelley | Washington Environmental Council
    • Sarah Clifthorne | Washington Federation of State Employees
    • Ken Lans | Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility
    • Jeff Johnson | Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO

    I will send you the contact information for the staff person who handles the Alliance’s business.

  20. Steve Verhey
    Posted February 3rd, 2016 at 5:11 PM | Permalink

    Just a quick note to thank Larry Gussin for his astute comments.

  21. Patrick
    Posted February 5th, 2016 at 2:28 PM | Permalink

    Commenting on the politics of the situation, rather than the merits or demerits of 732, this is a risky course for the state Dems and mainstream progressive and enviro groups. There is already a significant disconnect between the political professionals and grassroots activists. The professionals miscalculated the grassroots urgency to get something done on climate, and so when the Inslee climate bill failed had nothing to put in its place. CarbonWA literally seized the initiative and genuinely mobilized a movement. The professionals further miscalculated that a campaign that started out with limited funding and a largely volunteer base could not get enough signatures. Instead the campaign raised $600K and gathered 100,000 more signatures than needed. I think the party and the groups risk a backlash. It will certainly feed an enthusiasm gap that could have implications in a close election.

  22. Patrick
    Posted February 6th, 2016 at 7:46 PM | Permalink

    I want to add that 732 would not be my preferred option. There is a strong point for investing carbon revenues in clean energy and transition from fossil fuels. The tragedy is that the governor and the groups missed the boat. If they had believed enough in their ideas they should have had something up, and CarbonWA would have pulled. But that didn’t happen, and it seems from that point this conflict was baked in the cake.

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  1. By opposing the carbon tax | urbdp598 on February 24th, 2016 at 5:45 PM

    […] States. Most notably, last month the Washington State Democratic Party stated on record they are opposed to CarbonWA’s tax proposal. The more conservative side will always be against more taxes, […]