So … Where Do Our Tax Dollars Go? In just the first two years of enactment, the additional taxes we pay at the pump and to heat our homes will raise $766 million in carbon tax revenue. So, will it do any good? It’s reported that half of that money would go toward projects to reduce GHGs and another 20% would go toward what’s called “climate resilience” spending on natural resources projects such as water and forest health. Some revenue would be allocated to low-income families and workers in the fossil-fuel industry in the form of financial assistance to counter the tax.
Expert analysis finds much of the funding to be wasteful and lacking in transparency. According to Todd Myers of the Washington Policy Center, ”the bill includes funding for a range of special interest groups and speculative programs that would waste a significant percentage of the revenue on efforts that would do little to cut emissions.” It includes highly inflated cost allowances for carbon reduction. According to Myers, other states achieve carbon reduction at the cost of $5 to $15 per ton of CO2 whereas this bill allocates a wasteful $100 per ton. Funding allocation carries preferences for projects using union labor and payouts to environmental justice and other special interests, as well as payments to offset loss of public transportation revenue.
Proponents of the carbon tax suggest that it would actually be a boon to rural communities. Some of the funds would go toward:
- Cutting carbon emissions from livestock and other agricultural activities
- Establishing “clean energy centers” at two rural community colleges
- Reducing single-occupant transportation and increase transit ridership in rural areas
- Increasing use of electric transportation in rural communities
- Encouraging telecommuting by expanding broadband in rural communities.
For those of us who actually live in rural communities, the proposed benefits of some of these actions are unrealistic. Consider the likelihood of creating a truly effective public transportation system in our rural communities when a 20-minute drive to work turns into a 30-minute walk to the nearest bus stop and a 40-minute ride on two different busses. Imagine the feasibility of carpooling from home to two separate jobs each 20 miles from home in different directions.
Not the Right Road to GHG Solutions
If enacted, this bill could have devastating effects on commercial businesses, small and family owned businesses, rural communities, farmers and our families. Carbon taxes hit our state’s most vulnerable the hardest. Lower and middle income households spend a greater share of income on energy costs than higher income households. This is a direct hit on them. Those in our state who can least afford the burden of this tax will be the ones bearing it – all for 1/1000 of a degree in climate change.
There are better ways to enact solutions to battle climate change.
Read More About Washington’s Proposed Carbon Tax: