By Renée Sunde, President/CEO
The carbon tax initiative on the fall ballot, Initiative 1631, would be a new, unfair energy and gasoline tax that would cost consumers hundreds of dollars a year while forcing retailers to raise prices to compensate for the resulting higher fuel and delivery costs.
The facts show that I-1631 is much more than the “fee” on big polluters its promoters claim. It is a badly-flawed proposal that is generating opposition not only from Washington Retail Association but a broad cross-section of voters including labor unions, chambers of commerce and the state’s agriculture industry.
Here’s what else is expected if voters approve I-1631:
- Higher gasoline prices. AAA and others project an initial impact of 14 additional cents per gallon up to 57 cents in 15 years. Consumers and retailers alike would feel the impacts.
- Families and small businesses would face higher costs for heating fuel, natural gas and electricity, according to the Washington Policy Center. These costs would continue to rise annually and hurt those who could least afford to pay the most.
- Average household energy costs could rise $305 the first year and increase every year to $877 in new costs in a decade, according to the Washington Policy Center.
- The tax would cost consumers and businesses more than $2.3 billion in the first five years and 1631’s escalating taxes would increase automatically every year, with no cap, reports the state’s Office of Financial Management.
- The board in charge of spending the new tax revenues would be unelected and work without a spending plan and absent any requirements to direct the funds to reducing greenhouse gases or to achieve specific goals.
- Many of the state’s largest polluters would be exempt from 1631’s new taxes while consumers, farmers and small businesses would assume the new expenses.
Rather than reducing pollution, 1631 is an idea that is far more likely to slow the economy by taking money from consumers while adding expenses for retailers forced to charge more for their merchandise. It would amount to a waste of money and a threat to the livelihoods of consumers and businesses alike.