REPORTER CARTOON, Frank Shiers, Jr.

REPORTER CARTOON, Frank Shiers, Jr.

I-1631? Unfair, ineffective tax that costs too much, in return for too little

  • Thursday, October 25, 2018 10:05am
  • Opinion

On election day, voters will decide the fate of Initiative 1631, which, in the name of greenhouse gas reduction, imposes a never-ending tax increase on those least able to afford it.

I’m voting no. And I hope you will join me. I have spent years of my adult life involved in government – on the Renton City Council; and, as president at different times of both the Puget Sound Regional Council and Port of Seattle board of commissioners – and I know how special interests behave when they see a pot of money. And I-1631 is a multi-billion dollar pot of tax dollars that will come right out of your pockets.

Climate policy is too important to be decided in an initiative written by the very people who end up controlling the purse strings. I-1631 will:

• Sequester $30 billion in 15 years, money that might be better used elsewhere;

• Have a total net cost increase of $440 a year for Washington households, increasing every year after that;

• Cause the loss of thousands of jobs; and,

• Leave 93 percent of carbon emissions untouched.

That’s why a new study by NERA Economic Consulting — the only independent, private analysis of I-1631 by either side — is so compelling. It makes a very strong case that this measure is not the right step to address climate change. I firmly believe that climate change is a real threat, and we need to do something that will seriously address our part.

The NERA analysis says the total net cost per household is projected to be $440 in 2020, the first year under I-1631, increasing to $990 per household by 2035.

Assuming that all of the money collected under I-1631 will be spent on clean energy and reducing emissions, NERA’s analysis finds that after 15 years and $30 billion in new taxes, the state will not reach its emission reduction goals and we will leave 93 percent of Washington’s greenhouse gas emissions untouched. Even in a best-case scenario, I-1631 will have no impact on climate change – here in Washington or in the country.

NERA isn’t alone in these conclusions.

Here are two other important voices you can trust: Professor Cliff Mass, a well-known University of Washington climatologist, and Brian Sonntag, our state’s highly regarded retired state auditor. They have deep concerns over who makes the spending decisions . They urge that this initiative be defeated. Both signed the No on I-1631 statement in the Washington State Voters Guide.

Mass writes in his blog: “Instead of explicitly dedicating carbon fee funding to important climate-related needs, I-1631 hands the responsibility of distributing the cash to a 15-member oversight board including five WA state department heads and 10 appointed (by the governor) individuals.” Nor do initiative supporters have a spending plan, the professor points out.

Lately some of my friends are saying about climate change: “We’ve got to do something.” And we do. First, vote down this very poorly written initiative. Second, demand that our state Legislature come up with a plan that works for everybody. Not just the special interests who wrote the initiative.

I-1631 is a costly, unfair and ineffective tax that costs too much, in return for too little benefit, if any at all, for the environment.

I’m voting no on I-1631.

Bob Edwards is a former Renton City Council member now living in Bellevue; and past president of the Association of Washington Cities.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@auburn-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.auburn-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Opinion

Richard Elfers is a columnist, a former Enumclaw City Council member and a Green River College professor.
Age of insanity for the left and the right

Do you feel that, like the COVID-19 pandemic, insane behavior is spreading… Continue reading

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Should the King County sheriff be elected or appointed? | Roegner

The question for King County residents is more complicated than it appears.

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Who will advance to the November election? | Roegner

Races underway across state and King County.

Maybe there’s one silver lining in this current dark cloud

The pandemic has revealed President Trump’s weaknesses like never before.

Cartoon by Frank Shiers
Editorial: Reopen schools in fall, but do it safely

Don’t bully schools into reopening. Protect our students.

Guests gather to view a photo of Pilchuck Julia during the naming ceremony of the Snohomish River boat landing named for her in August, 2019. (Kevin Clark / Herald file photo)
Editorial: What history is owed through our monuments

The decisions regarding whom we honor in our public squares require deliberation and consensus.

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Points of contention on police inquests in King County

Inquests frequently unfold against a backdrop of sadness and drama: Family members’… Continue reading

Jayendrina Singha Ray is a PhD (ABD) in English, with a research focus on the works of the South African Nobel Laureate John Maxwell Coetzee. She teaches English Composition and Research Writing at Highline College, WA, and has previously taught English at colleges in India.
The search for selfhood

What really matters is the desire to find.

Cartoon by Frank Shiers
Editorial: Stopping COVID is now up to each of us

With a resurgence threatening, we need to take greater responsibility to keep the virus in check.

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Defund the police department? | Roegner

Our country is at a defining moment in our search for true… Continue reading

Why this newspaper is capitalizing Black | Editorial

Moving forward, the Auburn Reporter will capitalize Black when referring to the… Continue reading

Doreen Davis, left in mask, waves at parade participants on May 2. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo
Wear your face-hugging, ever-loving mask | Editorial

“Don’t make me come down there.” — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo,… Continue reading