July 2, 2018
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I-1631, carbon fee initiative, likely to make the ballot as supporters turn in signatures

Washington voters will likely have a carbon pricing initiative on the ballot again this fall. Supporters of Initiative 1631 traveled from Rainier Beach in Seattle to Olympia today on an electric bus to deliver signatures on their carbon fee initiative.

The measure would charge $15 for each metric ton of carbon dioxide emitted in the state starting in 2020 (with some exceptions). The fee would increase by $2 plus inflation every year until the state meets its climate goals, which include reducing its carbon footprint 36 percent below 2005 levels by 2035.

The revenue raised from the carbon fee would go toward clean energy projects, environmental improvement, and to programs within identified vulnerable communities.

It would also create a new layer of government by establishing an unelected oversight board made up of people from different interest groups that drafted the initiative to decide where and how to spend the revenue. The board would be given wide latitude over how to spend the money, making it unclear exactly how it would be used.

That input led to a relatively complex measure. AWB created a flow chart (download as PDF or jpeg) showing the complicated lines of oversight and money transfers within the initiative.

MyNorthwest reports that this measure comes after "repeated, and failed, attempts to add a fee to carbon pollution," including 2016's unsuccessful carbon tax measure, Initiative 732. To help build support for this initiative, supporters have built a coalition of environmental groups, tribes, minority communities, and others.

The measure is attracting national attention. Grist.com took a deep look at the measure and reports that "if I-1631 passes, it could serve as a template for an approach that could one day go national, state by state. Groups in Oregon and in Northeastern states have reached out to the initiative’s backers, inspired by Washington’s approach. And you can bet that they — and others — will be watching this fall."

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Federal Affairs Summit
Threatening Jobs

Lawsuits targeting manufacturers will hurt state's economy

By AWB President Kris Johnson

"... a threat is emerging that could pose a danger to employers in our state. A series of lawsuits is targeting manufacturers throughout the country over the effects of climate change. Using a misguided legal theory, these lawsuits attempt to hold energy manufacturers financially responsible for the impacts of global climate change...

Despite the history of these types of lawsuits failing in the courts and the fact that they do nothing to improve the environment, King County has become the first jurisdiction in Washington to file this type of lawsuit against manufacturers.

These lawsuits don't help improve the environment and they put thousands of critical manufacturing jobs at risk at a time when manufacturers are facing other serious challenges, including a relatively high tax and regulatory burden in Washington state. As manufacturers have realized a resurgence nationally, here in Washington the sector has lost roughly 48,000 jobs since 2000.

Our elected leaders should be focusing on efforts to boost manufacturing rather than jeopardizing jobs...

Read the full op-ed in The Puget Sound Business Journal
Bank It

State should add extra cash to its reserves

By The Walla Walla Union-Bulletin Editorial Board

As the Washington state economy -- driven by the Seattle area boom -- continues to exceed the expectations, the state government's net tax revenue will be $300 million more than projected.

Put it in savings -- and keep it there!

And if tax collections continue to exceed projections, that unanticipated cash should also be banked. The state needs to catch its breath...

Currently, the state has $2.9 billion in reserves in the current budget cycle. That's a relatively small amount in relation to the state budget. Still, it's a good start.

Adding the unanticipated $300 million -- with a commitment to add future cash windfalls -- will slowly beef up the savings. It makes far more sense than frittering it away like change at a candy store.

Read the full editorial in The Walla Walla Union-Bulletin
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