Letters to the Editor

Carbon fee is not a tax

Some of the anti I-1631 people and ads have used an incorrect reference to a carbon tax. A tax is a compulsory contribution to state revenue and is then subject to legislative spending. A fee is a payment in exchange for services. For example, if someone takes refuse to a landfill, they pay a fee. The fee is for the management and mitigation of the waste.

I-1631 levies a carbon fee on the suppliers of fossil fuels -- the products causing the pollution. The Initiative clearly outlines how the funds are to be used to manage and mitigate carbon pollution: by investments in programs to promote clean air, water/forest resiliency, and in clean, renewable energy. The Initiative also provides that some of the revenue is to be used to mitigate the impacts on vulnerable consumers, communities and workers.

The amounts of the fee, the number and identity of the exemptions, how the revenue is to be spent -- all these issues have been difficult compromises to reach an acceptable climate change policy.

The fee being charged to the fossil fuel companies should be considered a business expense (deductible?). The companies do not have to pass the fee costs on to the consumer, but they probably will to punish consumers and maintain large profit margins. Consider the amount of money (over $20 million) being spent by the fossil fuel companies to oppose this Initiative, an initiative whose purpose is to benefit Washington state residents by mitigating the carbon pollution caused by fossil fuel products.