Dear Friends,I’m writing about I-732, the carbon tax initiative on the ballot this November. If you already plan to vote for it, no need to read further.If you are at all concerned about climate change, and I am, given my step-dad is a climate scientist, and I founded the non-profit CoolMom with the hopes of engaging moms around climate action. My belief is that, without a doubt, climate change will be the biggest threat to our children’s future and I will do whatever I can to create a shift. Washington is staged to become a true leader in passing climate policy and this could shift the whole country if not the world.If you are not sure, or are thinking of voting NO, please read this. I was one of the first organizers for this bill, I have stood out in the rain, and the hot sun, and the boring hours, collecting signatures for I-732 and I want to make sure you hear the whole story. We are within striking distance of passing this! And this is a BIG DEAL!So … a carbon tax. Under normal circumstances, no email would be required. Carbon tax? Yes, of course! We’ve been waiting decades for this! We’ve known for years that this is the single most effective policy to tackle climate change.But this is not a normal time.You may have heard that many of the progressive and green groups are not supporting I-732. You may have seen Fuse’s Progressive Voter Guide that advises a No vote on I-732. How is this possible?That is some crazy talk!The politics around I-732 are complicated*, but the short version is this: The groups opposing I-732 oppose it for one main reason: it is revenue neutral. In other words, it’s a carbon tax that won’t bring in any additional revenue, because it lowers other taxes at the same time it raises a tax on fossil fuels.These groups are so committed to the idea that a carbon tax should raise new revenue that they’re willing to kill the strongest climate policy in North America over it. They’re even willing to trot out the same lies that right wing opponents always use against environmental initiatives: in the official Voters’ pamphlet, they have the audacity to call it a “job killer” and say that “it will not significantly address climate change.”Here’s what Sightline, the Pacific Northwest’s premier progressive think tank had to say about I-732:“I-732 would launch Washington to a position of global leadership on climate action. By implementing a pollution price, rising steadily for four decades and keeping pace with inflation thereafter, I-732 would reorient Washington’s economy away from fossil fuels and toward low-carbon options. The price would be simple to administer and would cover most of the state’s pollution. By reducing Washington’s regressive state sales tax and funding tax credits for working families, I-732 would make the state tax code more progressive.”“Taken on whole, for us at Sightline, and judged exclusively on the basis of policy, not politics or political strategy, the policy’s flaws are cause for concern but are dwarfed by I-732’s potential benefits.”If you’re still unsure, read the whole meticulous analysis (fyi, they refute the supposed “budget hole” that I-732 would create):You can tell from the way they wrote the piece that they’re bending over backwards to avoid pissing off all their allies on the left. But facts are facts.Please join me in supporting I-732 and helping to spread the word. Please vote YES for climate action!Cheers,Kristy* The complication is mainly around the involvement of environmental justice, climate justice, and social justice groups representing communities of color. I’m not in any way minimizing the importance of the issues they’re raising. But I deeply believe that opposing I-732 over these issues is a huge mistake. As so often, perfect is the enemy of good, and I believe that to be the case here.
Dear Friends, Family & Neighbors,
I have never made a public plea in the realm of politics but the environment and the frightening changes we’ve experienced in the climate in our short lifetimes demands action. We must ACT NOW to address climate change. Please VOTE YES on I-732, the climate change/carbon tax swap initiative! We have the opportunity to set an example for the country and for the world…not just talking about climate change but taking real steps to curb it! I want my children to have all of the natural beauties that awe so many of us. It is natural vistas, admiring reefs and sea life on snorkeling or scuba adventures, watching birds and animals and other natural phenomena that really take our breath away…let’s not deprive our children of these same opportunities! Let’s not ignore the vast change it will also have on humanity in terms of increased weather extremes and rising sea levels leading to dislocated peoples in low elevation communities…my beloved NYC being one of them.
I’m sure you have seen signs (including the one in my yard and the sticker on my car) and heard opinions but please educate yourself about I-732 for the sake of our planet and for our children. Here are a few bullet points to help break it down:
Economists and scientists across the political spectrum agree that the most important thing that we can do to take action on climate change is to put a price on carbon. British Columbia implemented a similar carbon tax in 2008 and it has helped keep emissions in check even as BC’s economy has grown at a faster pace than the rest of Canada.
Just like with I-502 in 2012 (legalizing marijuana), Washington State again has the opportunity to take a bold step forward and lead by example. My hope is that this initiative passes and causes other states, our federal government, and other nations to follow suit.
I-732 is smart because instead of further polarizing the political sphere, it bridges interests and perspectives. The package is attractive to businesses, the environment, families, and Washington’s economy. The bottom line is simple. I-732 helps reduce climate related pollution and transforms it into tax relief for individuals, working families and businesses in the state. If it makes as much sense to you as it does to me, then I hope you will vote yes on I-732 and encourage others to do the same.
Climate change is real. We must act now, before further irreversible damage is done. Please VOTE YES on I-732 and SPREAD the word! We all have a moral responsibility to focus on carbon reduction now to protect our children and future generations by tackling climate change now, and leaving them a cleaner, healthier, safer world.
Lastly, my lifelong friend, Greg Rock has dedicated his personal and professional career to green efforts. Formerly founder of the Green Car Company and more recently an Energy Policy Specialist for the WA State Energy Office, he left his job in January to volunteer full-time for Carbon Washington. Greg represented the initiative on InsideOlympia. He breaks down all the details in plain talk in a YouTube video here. Carbon Washington (https://carbonwa.org) is one of the most impressive grassroots movements of our time, gaining so much traction with so little funds. Along, these lines, if you are inclined, they could still use money to support their efforts in this final push to help ensure this ground breaking initiative gets voted into action. You can donate here: https://act.myngp.com/forms/-8841973443411836928/
I hope you will join me in voting YES on I-732 to address climate change NOW and show the country and the world that Seattle really is green, not just in talk and image, but in action!
Thanks for taking the time to read this. Feel free to email me with any questions and please spread the word….the time is NOW!
With deep concern and gratitude,
I’ve gotten many questions on I-732, the state carbon tax, so here’s a little one-time email.
As an inventor and entrepreneur, I’ve spent considerable time studying how to achieve Low Carbon Prosperity — both decarbonizing and boosting our state’s economy. While I-732 isn’t perfect, it’s a great start, and its limitations can be worked by amendment. So my advice is:
VOTE YES ON I-732
The risks in this are reasonably low.
Progressives should like it because I-732 has been called the most progressive tax reform in 40 years. That’s important because our state which has the most regressive tax system in the country.
Conservatives should like it because it’s a free market, technology neutral approach that encourages entrepreneurial response, with minimal government involvement.
I like I-732 for all these reasons, but mostly because I’m playing right now with Sammy, my bubbly & trusting 2-year old grandson, and thinking about his future. We have a moral responsibility to act for all our Sammys.
There’s never been a better election for Washington state to lead around the wreckage in the road that’s American politics. Let’s seize election day on this issue, as we’ve done so often in the past.
Co-inventor of Sonicare & Clarisonic
SBA National Small Business Person of the Year
National Entrepreneur of the Year for Manufacturing
I voted today.There are a lot of candidates and initiatives on the ballot that haven’t blown up Twitter or been spoofed on SNL. One of those is I-732. After studying that one and listening to some people I know and respect, I voted YES on 732.Why? It’s a simple and fair, market-based, revenue-neutral way to address climate change. It has bipartisan support (and some bipartisan opposition which tells me the measure is in the sensible center). It cuts the sales tax for all of us — families and businesses; and it puts a price on carbon emissions, holding polluters accountable for the cost they impose on all of us and accelerating progress to clean energy solutions. This one was a vote for the future of my kids. If you live in beautiful, breathable Washington state, I hope you too will vote YES on I-732.
Immediately and locally, voters in Washington state have an opportunity to pass some powerful climate legislation. Today I am asking you to vote Yes on I-732, and to pass this letter on to your friends who vote in Washington.
WHAT WOULD I-732 DO?
• I-732 puts a price on pollution, charging a carbon tax of $25 per metric ton of carbon.
• It lowers the WA sales tax 1%, saving the average family $200 per year.
• It funds the Working Families tax rebate, granting over 400,000 low income families up to $1500 annually.
• It eliminates the Business and Occupation (B&O) tax on manufacturing, keeps manufacturers competitive and keeps good jobs here.
Removing 1% of the sales tax will offset these increased energy costs for everyone.
WHY ARE SOME ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS OPPOSING IT?
Those groups think a price on carbon should generate revenue to invest in renewable energy, mass transit and other projects. I-732 is instead designed to be revenue-neutral, so that it doesn’t grow government, and so that it appeals to conservatives.
IS IT REALLY REVENUE-NEUTRAL?
By the WA Dept. of Revenue’s own estimate, I-732 comes within 1% of revenue-neutrality. The independent think tank Sightline Institute thoroughly studied I-732, and declared “it’s revenue-neutral.”http://bit.
WHY SHOULDN’T THE GOVERNMENT SPEND THE REVENUE ON THOSE PRIORITIES?
The government can; that’s just a different model than I-732. The groups that advocate for more revenue failed to come up with their own solution, and did not get anything on the ballot. WA has at least four years before we can vote on any other climate legislation. Instead of delaying the climate problem indefinitely, vote YES on I-732 to help pass the nation’s first carbon tax. It’s not designed to be a solve all our problems. But it’s an important first step, and would be a huge accomplishment.
It’s important to note that the cost of climate INaction in Washington is expected to skyrocket – to nearly $10 billion yearly after 2020, as this study from the University of Oregon shows: http://bit.ly/2eLySQW
Check out how I-732 will affect your household, using this I-732 tax calculator designed by the University of Washington at: http://bit.ly/2dEjGEv
We believe the solution is to price carbon emissions now, incentivizing everyone to lower their carbon footprints.
For more information, visit: www.carbonwa.org LET’S WIN!
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OPEN LETTER FROM THE MILLENNIAL LEADERS OF
CARBON WASHINGTON AND THE YES ON 732 CAMPAIGN
To: Michael Brune, Executive Director, Sierra Club
Jason Barbose, Western Policy Manager, Union of Concerned Scientists
Kenneth Kimmel, President, Union of Concerned Scientists
Denis Hayes, Executive Director Bullitt Foundation; founder Earth Day
KC Golden, Board Chair, 350.org
Bill McKibben, Founder and Senior Advisor, 350.org
Gene Karpinski, President, League of Conservation Voters
Joan Crooks, CEO, Washington Conservation Voters
If climate change is a war, in Washington State the millennials are fighting while the establishment is hiding.
You have all spent much of your life’s work talking about a perilous future that is threatened by a rapidly warming climate. We are writing to you as the generation who will inherit that future. We are the young people you’ve inspired.
Climate change felt like the invincible monster in our nightmares, an inescapable threat. So for us, as young millennials, it was refreshing to hear you speak frankly about our generational plight, that “winning too slowly is the same as losing.” Our situation is so dire, that to fully confront it is itself an act of courage. We’ve looked up to leaders like you because you have no tolerance for helplessness. We watched some of you speak at Power shift conferences, and we attended the Do the Math Tour. In response, we took action. We started our own campus fossil fuel divestment campaigns, and over the past few years we built CarbonWA, a Washington state grassroots organization with over 20 chapters that put forward America’s first carbon tax initiative. You were leaders because you wanted us to become leaders.
Now WE are leaders, and you are letting us down. We’ve all known from the start that divestment, or stopping Keystone XL, or electing the right politician, was never going to be enough. We heard each of you say that we needed to put a price on carbon, and we agreed. Banding together in coffee shops, university classrooms, and our cramped apartments, we launched the nation’s first citizens’ initiative to put a price on carbon – Initiative 732. The campaign is led by millennials along with noteworthy contributions from people of all ages, income levels, ethnicities, and backgrounds, gathering the 10th most signatures for a ballot initiative in Washington State history. We’ve heeded the calls to take control of a situation that threatens our lives. We put one of strongest climate policies in the world on the ballot.
But where are you all? The silence is deafening. If, as some of you say, climate change is a war, then we need to be fighting hard in every battle, not hiding in a foxhole or running from the battlefield. Ignoring the nation’s very first carbon tax ballot initiative or in some cases allowing your organizations to campaign against it and spread misinformation is not leadership.
You need to take a serious look at I-732. You will find a group of young and diverse people powering Yes on 732. You will see legislators from both parties supporting I-732. You will see people of color standing up for I-732. You will see that the oil companies we so eagerly demonize are mostly on the sidelines, but that the organizations you lead, work with and advise are actually cutting off our supply lines and stealing our bullets. We know that there are political dynamics at play that no one likes – but you all know that in politics sometimes it comes with the territory.
This crisis belongs to more than just a handful of non-profit gatekeepers to decide what should be politically realistic and what isn’t. Doing nothing for four more years or more condemns our future to runaway climate change. This is our fight, and we need your help now. In a war, inaction is action in favor of the winning side, there is no neutrality. Sitting this fight out gives ammunition to powerful interests aligned against climate action.
Leaders of your stature belong on the field, not the sidelines.
We know there are legitimate concerns that I-732 doesn’t solve all of our many problems. We’ve always viewed I-732 as a catalyst for further change, not an endpoint. You could acknowledge that, as we do, and stand with the hundreds of young people who put their time, energy, and reputations on the line to MAKE SOMETHING HAPPEN. A generation, the future of the climate movement, is watching you perplexed and disenchanted at the absenteeism, and at times, obstructionism from the environmental establishment you in many ways oversee. But there is time to change course. You could use your platform to call attention to this effort, you could insist to those you advise that infighting within the climate movement is NOT making us better, and you could personally stand with us. You could support us as we have supported you.
We call on you to join us.
From the millennial leaders of Carbon Washington and the Yes On 732 campaign:
Ben Silesky Kyle Murphy Megan Conaway Aaron Tam Alex Lenferna Rheanna Johnston Duncan Clauson Mariana Garcia Ben Larson Dani Ladyka Carter Case Max Price Judy Wu Alissa Neuman Allie Bull Ian Crozier Morgane Arriola Sarah Geyer Lexie Carr Tyee Williams Marcello Molinaro Trevor Partington Alisha Husain Remington Purnell Ali Mollhoff Abbie Abramovich Savannah Kinzer Summer Hanson Kyle Conyers
Subject: Plug In America Supports Initiative 732 – Encourages Members to Vote Yes
Dear Plug In America Friends,
Election season is upon us, and the ballots are out in Washington. While the general election has certainly been historic, Initiative 732 in Washington also provides the chance for our state to set a precedent for the rest of the country on tackling climate change.
Initiative 732 is a revenue neutral carbon tax. It would set a $25 per ton tax on the carbon pollution from fossil fuels, making sure that the environmental costs of our carbon emissions are factored in when people make purchase decisions of gasoline, electricity, cars, etc. To balance out the tax, the initiative will lower the sales tax by a full 1% – savings hundreds of dollars per year for an average household in Washington – as well as provide a rebate to low-income households and cut some manufacturing taxes.
The Initiative is modeled after a successful program in British Columbia, and has the support of numerous climate scientists, lawmakers, the Audobon Society and the Seattle EV Association (SEVA).
What does this have to do with plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs)? There is no direct PEV benefit, but there’s no harm done either. However, if gas prices are higher due to the carbon tax, these higher prices at the pump could be the final push that some drivers need to make the switch to drive electric.
In the lead up to this ballot measure there were other versions of the carbon tax debated, which you can read about here. But in the end, Initiative 732 is on the ballot, and we have the chance to support it. We want more clean PEVs on the road now, reducing air pollution and saving consumers money – not in four years from now in the next election cycle.
Please vote “Yes” on Initiative 732.
Thanks for all your support,
Policy Director, Plug In America
Fam and friends!
I am reaching out with a humble ask. For much of the past year, and the past few months in particular, I have been dedicating all of my time, energy, and efforts to help pass the first carbon tax in American history via Initiative 732. I-732 is currently the most robust proposal in the world to put a price on carbon pollution and reduce greenhouse gas emissions causing climate change. Importantly, it is the only climate change-related proposal being discussed on a national scale, and could be a bi-partisan model for the rest of the country (not unlike British Columbia’s carbon tax, in place since 2008, upon which I-732 was modeled).
Climate change is the challenge of my lifetime, and that of the next generation. It effects everything from food resources, to disease, to geographic and civic stability, and of course, wild critters and the habitat they need to survive.
Right now in Washington, while the rest of the country/world puzzles over the Presidential campaign, we are moving the needle on climate change in America. Our campaign is making great progress but we’ve got to speed it up and the best way to help this happen is to donate, and spread the word to your family, friends, and everyone you know.
I am reaching out to ask two things –
1) If you live in Washington, send an email to your network – tell them what a price on carbon means to you, why it is so important to take action while the opportunity exists, and how – together – we are making history. Need some powerful inspiration? Read this Open Letter from the Millennial Leaders of Carbon Washington and the Yes On 732 campaign and these personal communications shared with all for the greater good.
2) Make a small donation to Audubon Washington in honor of our work to pass climate legislation. This is my 2016 marathon, and I’ve never wanted anything more than I want to pass I-732.
At a time when world leadership is lacking, we can be leaders. We can be the change we want to see in the world. As the millennials [literally] leading the campaign say “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for!”