AWB opposes Initiative 1631
Proposed initiative raises costs for families and employers without guarantee of environmental benefit
OLYMPIA — The Association of Washington Business board of directors voted today to oppose Initiative 1631, which seeks to impose a new carbon emissions fee on Washington employers.
“After careful consideration, our members concluded I-1631 is not the right way to reduce emissions,” AWB President Kris Johnson said. “We share the goal of protecting the environment, but this initiative will raise the cost of energy for families and employers while offering little assurance it will result in a meaningful reduction of carbon emissions.”
I-1631 would establish an escalating fee on carbon emissions starting at $15 per metric ton, immediately adding 14 cents per gallon to the cost of gasoline. The fee would increase annually by $2 per ton plus inflation. The fee would raise up to an estimated $1 billion per year to start, and those funds would be distributed by a newly created, unelected board made up of people from different interest groups. The board would be given wide latitude over how to spend the revenue, making it unclear exactly how it would be used.
“Washington businesses are already among the greenest in the world and they continue to look for new ways to reduce their carbon footprint,” Johnson added. “This initiative will do little to reduce global carbon emissions while placing Washington employers, especially small businesses, at a competitive disadvantage with other states and regions that won’t have to pay the higher energy costs.
“There’s also concern that this establishes an unelected body of decision-makers,” Johnson added. “We believe there are better ways to reduce carbon emissions while also protecting jobs and family budgets.”