Lawmakers Look at “Revenue Neutral” Carbon Tax

Washington lawmakers are considering an initiative to adopt a state-wide carbon tax.

The proposal is identified as “revenue neutral” because it lowers the state sales tax to offset higher fuel costs consumers would pay, and it reduces business taxes on manufacturers which emit the greenhouse gases.

Todd Myers of the Washington Policy Center contends the initiative, known as I-732, must give certainty to businesses in order to work.

He says “If you reduce regulatory uncertainty and put more control in the hands of businesses about cutting carbon emissions, and therefore turning this into a tax cut, they have more control, where as in regulation they don’t”.

The Washington Policy Center is a “free market” think tank which typically argues for lower taxes.

Conversely, Ellicott Dandy of Seattle based One America is critical of the initiative, contending its reliance on tax breaks will cost the state too much money.

She says “By spending all of its revenues on tax cuts, I-732 fails to usher Washington into a low carbon economy.  $900 million is way too high a price to pay for the privilege of having a carbon tax”.  One America bills itself as an organization focused on promoting the interests of immigrant communities.

Lawmakers can either pass the initiative, make changes or do nothing, in which case it’ll go to a public vote in November’s election.

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