Sunday, October 2, 2016

Initiative 732 Forum

PCOs Richard Badalamente and Lora Rathbone were key players in arranging a forum on I-732, the initiative sponsored by CarbonWA designed to lower CO2 emissions in Washington State. The forum took place last Friday, September 30th, at WSU-Tri-Cities. An estimated 60 to 70 people turned out to hear panelists representing CarbonWA, Audubon-WA, Labor, and Latino Progress discuss the pros and cons of the initiative.

The Benton-Franklin League of Women Voters moderated the forum. The event was co-hosted by the WSU-Tri-Cities Environmental Club. The club's student president, Elinor Lake did yeoman's work arranging the venue, and assisting in the conduct of the forum. Northwest Public TV recorded the forum and will televise it soon.

A critical element of the ever increasing concentration of CO2 in the Earth's atmosphere is the unprecendated rate of change we're witnessing since the Industrial Revolution.

 I-732 is patterned after the proven and highly successful carbon tax in British Columbia and will:

1.  Establish a 25 dollar per ton tax on carbon emissions associated with fossil fuels.
2.  Reduce the sales tax by a full percent.
3.  Provide a Working Families Tax Rebate to provide up to $1,500 a year for 460,000 low-income households
4.  Lower the Business & Occupation tax on manufacturing to 0.001 percent of gross receipts, effectively eliminating the tax.

I-732 is designed to be revenue neutral, so that the money collected by the carbon tax is used to reduce other taxes. Government will not grow as a result, but CO2 will decline.

Benton County Democrats will discuss endorsing I-732 at the October monthly meeting.

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